Extra linesman at Euro a success - UEFA
UEFA's landmark decision to deploy extra linesmen at Euro 2012 was a resounding success, helping slash the number of fouls by 20 percent, its technical director Andy Roxburgh said on Wednesday.
"We all felt that the standard of refereeing at the Euro was excellent," Roxburgh told reporters after a three-day meeting of European coaches in Warsaw.
"Of course it's a matter of minimising mistakes. Because players, coaches and referees will always make some mistakes. But certainly the standards are improving. We felt that the use of the additional referee had a big impact," he added.
At June's tournament in Poland and Ukraine, UEFA opted to expand its experiment with having six match officials in a drive to deal with disputed on-pitch decisions and keep an eye on behaviour on the bench.
It argued that adding two extra linesmen, plus a standby, to the traditional trio of a referee and two linesmen had already proven its mettle in the Champions League and Europa League.
Roxburgh said the impact on the pitch has been clear.
"First of all because it's a deterrent. You don't get as many incidents in the box, or elbowing or pulling jerseys or pulling people to the ground. The linesman can concentrate entirely on his job of offside," he said.
"It was quite clear that during the final tournament this had an impact on the quality of the refereeing. Clearly the message that came from here was that the additional referees had a big impact at the Euro."
"There were less fouls. About 20 percent less fouls in this Euro than the last one. That was significant," he underlined.
Euro 2012 was not controversy-free, however.
A notable case involved Ukraine's final Euro 2012 Group D match, against England, when their only goal was ruled out.
England won 1-0, and UEFA's refereeing chief later said that denying Ukraine had been a bad call.
Such errors have stoked calls for the introduction of goal-line technology, which FIFA has agreed to use at the Club World Cup in Tokyo in December, the Confederations Cup in 2013 and the World Cup in 2014.
But UEFA has been reticent, preferring the system of extra match officials.
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