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Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009

FIFA mulls extra officials on pitch

JOHANNESBURG (AP) FIFA will consider having extra match officials on the field to help referees at next year's World Cup in South Africa, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Monday.

Blatter says Thierry Henry's deliberate handball, which led to the goal that sent France to the World Cup at the expense of Ireland, showed that referees needed more help on the field.

The FIFA executive committee will hold an emergency meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday, two days ahead of the draw for the World Cup, to discuss whether to recommend extra match officials. If they agree, the proposal will go before soccer's rule-making International Board in Zurich in March for a final decision.

"There is a lack of discipline and respect in the game by the players because they are cheating," Blatter said Monday at the opening of the Soccerex business conference in Johannesburg.

"This is human beings trying to get an advantage and this is not good and we have to fight against that. We have only one man on the field of play who shall intervene in this matter. He has two assistants for the time being, perhaps more in the future. He has to make an immediate decision. He has only two eyes. So match control is now is on the agenda. How shall we avoid such situations as we have seen in this very specific match?"

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