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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Europe Coaches Blast Referees, 'Golden Goal'

COPENHAGEN -- While Spain coach Javier Clemente said Tuesday poor refereeing is the biggest problem in international soccer, his fellow European national coaches took aim at the innovation of the sudden death "golden goal" as a major break on the game's competitveness.


"The big problem is refereeing mistakes. You need perfect referees, but where is the perfect referee?" Clemente said during the second day of the three-day UEFA National Coaches Convention held by European soccer's governing body.


But Clemente, whose side were eliminated by hosts England on penalties in the Euro 96 quarter-finals in June, said he did not favour the introduction of technology as a means of reducing the chances of mistakes by referees, such as televised slow-motion replays.


"In my opinion, technology must not come into football, because then the arguments will end and without arguments football will die," he said.


Meanwhile, the controversial sudden death issue and a need for more support of national team trainers by clubs emerged as main concerns in the convention's early sessions.


"They discussed things like the golden goal and they're almost all against it. Even Berti Vogts, who won the European championship with the golden goal, doesn't like it," said the European soccer body's technical director Andy Roxburgh.


Roxburgh said the golden goal, which decided the Euro 96 final won by Vogts's Germany in June, was a key topic during discussions about the increasing complexity of a national team coach's job and the intense pressure under which he works.


When pressed as to whether the golden goal would be kept for the 1998 World Cup finals, UEFA general secretary Gerhard Aigner said though coaches might dislike it, players probably preferred it to the risk of missing in a penalty shootout.


"We have to convince teams to decide games in 90 minutes," he said.


"We need more protection for national team players as to their availability for official matches," said former France coach Gerard Houllier, a guest speaker at the convention.


He said UEFA wanted to see the world body FIFA's ruling that players be made available for competitive internationals five days before the match strictly adhered to. The deadline for friendlies should also be increased from two to three days.


Englishman Roy Hodgson, former Switzerland coach now in charge of Internazionale of Italy, said of the sterile football at Euro 96 that "all coaches approach the game the only way possible. As things are now you won't see any cavalier football at the highest level when the only thing that counts is the result.


"Domestic programs destroy international players before a national coach even gets them," he said.