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Fifa to mull replays and five-referee proposals

GOVERNING body Fifa has rejected proposals to use five referees in each game at the 2010 World Cup but dropped the strongest hint yet that major rule changes could be on the horizon.<br /><br />The handball by France striker Thierry Henry that helped eliminate the Republic of Ireland in last month&rsquo;s play-off prompted fresh calls for referees to be given extra help.<br /><br />Fifa president Sepp Blatter said next summer&rsquo;s finals would come too soon for the five-referee system currently being trialled in the Europa League to be used at the finals.<br /><br />But he announced Fifa&rsquo;s executive committee would open an inquiry into its possible widespread adoption and the potential use of video technology, after admitting the Henry incident had laid bare the limitations of the current system. <br /><br />&ldquo;The executive committee came to the decision that the referee is not any longer consistent with the quality and the speed of the game, and the interest of television and 32 cameras as we will have in the World Cup,&rdquo; said Blatter. &ldquo;We shall have a look at technology or additional persons and this shall be done by a committee but not the referees committee alone.&rdquo;<br /><br />The five-referee system sees extra officials behind each goal with a mandate to spot potential penalty-box incidents, but Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, who has first-hand experience from this season&rsquo;s Europa League, has been underwhelmed by its effectiveness.<br /><br />He said: &ldquo;If you are asking me &lsquo;from your personal experience, have you seen better decisions in penalty areas thanks to extra referees?&rsquo; I would say no I haven&rsquo;t.&rdquo;<br /><br />Hodgson also played down the potential of video technology, which is already used in cricket, tennis and rugby union, saying: &ldquo;Sometimes I see hundreds of replays, and still cannot make up my mind.&rdquo;