HOLYROOD, Northern Ireland — Soccer's rule-makers ruled out the imminent use of video technology on Saturday, hours before the wrong Sunderland player appeared to be sent off at Manchester United.
Sunderland defender John O'Shea pulled back Radamel Falcao in the penalty area but Wes Brown, who appeared to make no contact with the United striker, was dismissed by referee Roger East.
The English Football Association backs the wider implementation of technology — three years after goal-line aids were approved for use — but FIFA is blocking any moves to allow referees to defer to a video replays throughout matches for now.
The Dutch federation has been testing technology where officials watching on television could feed live information to referees but the International Football Association Board on Saturday wouldn't approve any trials.
"It's a question of making the biggest decision ever in the way football is played," FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said in the Northern Ireland town of Holywood.
"It needs a lot of discussion, in terms of what we are looking at. We talked about the fact if the referee relies on information he is getting (from the video referee), is there a risk that the referees become not as strong as they are today because they will always ask for confirmation of any decision in the course of the game?"
But the incident at Old Trafford, where United won 2-0, highlighted the value of such technology. The English FA, which holds one of the eight IFAB votes, believes that FIFA is making a mistake by delaying video technology trials.
After years of lobbying for goal-line technology, the FA gained FIFA approval following a glaring error at the 2010 World Cup when England's Frank Lampard was denied a clear goal.
"Instead of waiting until you get a 'Frank Lampard' to change the rules, as with goal-line technology, we should go on the front foot," Dyke said, advocating trials.
"I think we're going to look back in 20 years time and say, 'Wasn't it quaint that we didn't use video technology when it was available.'"
Dyke was speaking before the incident at United, and declined to comment later because he hadn't seen a video. FA referees' chief David Elleray also wouldn't comment in Northern Ireland.
The red card could be transferred to O'Shea, who would then serve the one-match ban. But a rule change that IFAB on Saturday endorse would see the offending player not serve a sanction.
IFAB agreed in principle to relax the so-called "triple punishment" rule where a player can make a challenge that results in a penalty kick, a red card and suspension. Now FIFA's disciplinary and legal committees will look at the feasibility of removing the automatic one-match ban in these cases.
"IFAB did agree that this punishment is too harsh and that we must find a solution to the matter," said Patrick Nelson, chief executive of the Irish FA, which was hosting the meeting.
A proposal to allow an additional fourth substitute in extra time was not approved, but will be looked at in further depth by IFAB's advisory panels.
IFAB includes delegates from the four British football associations and FIFA. Since last year, it takes advice from panels of technical and football experts selected from across the world.
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