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Collina 'surprised' by furore over refereeing at Women's World Cup

There have been several controversial refereeing decisions at the Women’s World Cup, but Pierluigi Collina has defended the new laws.

Fifa chief Pierluigi Collina.
Fifa chief Pierluigi Collina.

THE WOMEN’S WORLD Cup is not being used as an experiment for new laws, according to Fifa referees chief Pierluigi Collina.

There have been several controversial decisions in the tournament so far, the majority relating to the use of VAR.

Goalkeeper encroachment at penalties has been a contentious issue, with several spot kicks being retaken in the group stage after it was deemed the keepers did not have at least part of one foot on the goal-line.

That rule was introduced shortly before the competition in France started, with Scotland eliminated in the group stages after Argentina were allowed to retake a spot kick that had initially been saved.

But Collina, the chairman of Fifa’s refereeing committee, used a press conference in Le Havre on Wednesday to defend some of the decisions that have caused controversy.

“The only issue so far has concerned penalty kicks, and honestly we have been a bit surprised,” he told reporters.

If we have a tool that can show clearly without any doubt that there is an offside position and a goal is scored by the player who was in an offside position, it doesn’t matter if it was two centimetres or 20 metres. 

“There is not a small or a big offside, there is an offside. We have technology which was well received by the entire world, goal-line technology, which allows us to see if the ball crossed the line by 0.5cm, so if the ball is over the line by 0.5cm, it is a goal.

“If a goalkeeper moves both feet off the goal-line before the penalty kick is taken, we have no choice but to order the penalty kick to be retaken. I repeat, it is not a matter of a small encroachment or big encroachment, it is a matter of encroachment, and this is what we can do by using technology.”

Collina pointed out that teams were notified in December of the new laws and were given the chance to play with the rules in effect during pre-tournament friendlies.

And the 59-year-old also warned the Professional Game Match Officials Limited that all Premier League matches will have to use VAR to check goalkeeper encroachment from the start of next season.

We didn’t consider the Women’s World Cup — which is our flagship tournament in 2019 as a World Cup — as an experiment,” he said.

“I want only to remind you that the new version of the laws of the game have been implemented in Poland for the Under-20 World Cup for the men, it has been implemented in the Copa America, it has been implemented in AFCON, and also here.”

He added: “The laws are the same all over the world. What is written in the laws of the game has to be enforced in every one of the countries that belong to Fifa and in every one of the competitions arranged by the member associations of Fifa.”

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