FIFA to explore video replays


Reporting from Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa — A day after insisting it would not reconsider its stand against video replays, FIFA reversed itself Tuesday with President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter saying it would be “a nonsense” not to take a look at goal-line technology.

Blatter also apologized to England and Mexico for officiating errors that may have helped eliminate them from the World Cup on Sunday. England had an obvious goal disallowed in its 4-1 loss to Germany and Mexico was the victim of a goal that never should have counted in its 3-1 loss to Argentina.

The errors created a worldwide furor and put pressure on FIFA, which has long opposed allowing officials to use technology to assist in decision making because Blatter believes it takes the human element away from the sport.

“Naturally, we deplore when you see the evidence of referees’ mistakes,” Blatter said. “Naturally, we will take on board again the discussion about technology. Something has to be changed.”

Blatter said the International Football Assn. Board would begin considering changes at a meeting in July.

Brazil cutting back on work

Brazilian Coach Dunga says he plans to begin shortening his team’s training sessions in an effort to keep his players fresh, especially with Brazil facing long trips to Port Elizabeth and, if it wins there, Cape Town in the next week.

“We know that the Brazilian players love training. But we are actually trying to reduce that to allow our players to focus their energy on the game,” he said.

Dunga, who played in three World Cups, winning one, was hired as Brazil’s coach shortly after the 2006 tournament, and said the players are now so familiar with one another and the coaching staff that everyone is generally on the same page during the games.

“All I have to do to communicate with my players is to look at [them] and say a few words,” he said.

Mandela may attend final

Nelson Mandela may make an appearance at the World Cup after all.

“It keeps coming up that he might be there,” Gen. Bheki Cele, South Africa’s police commissioner, said of the tournament final.

Cele is making security plans to accommodate Mandela in case he decides to attend the July 11 game at Soccer City Stadium on the edge of Soweto, the black township where Mandela once lived.

The former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose presence was crucial is winning South Africa the right to play host to the first World Cup on African soil, was expected to attend the opening ceremonies. But the death of a great-granddaughter in an auto accident before the first game caused him to change plans.

Mandela, who turns 92 in July and is in frail health, rarely appears in public.