UEFA’s head of refereeing Pierluigi Collina (Getty)

(WFI) UEFA’s head of refereeing Pierluigi Collina has defended Michel Platini’s additional assistant referee scheme, as calls grow to introduce goal-line technology after Ukraine were denied an obvious goal in their match against England.

The AAR experiment led by Platini, a vociferous opponent of goal-line technology, took a knock when the assistant ref who was right on the spot somehow failed to see that Marko Devic’s shot had crossed the line in the Euro 2012 co-host’s 1-0 defeat to England in Donetsk.

In thinly disguised criticism of the AAR initiative, which has been trialled in Champions League and Europa League, FIFA president Sepp Blatter tweeted on Wednesday: “After last night’s match GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity.”

His comment has reignited debate over the merits of GLT.

The International Football Association Board will be presented with findings of trials of two technologies – Hawk-Eye and GoalRef – at its July 5 meeting in Zurich before making a decision to approve one of them.

Collina, once regarded as the world’s best referee, admitted that the incident was the biggest mistake in “roughly 1000 matches played” in which five match officials had been used.

He said that three “goal-line situations” had prompted debate at Euro 2012.

“Two of them were absolutely correct, the third was unfortunately wrong. Being wrong is one thing, saying that the ball was half a metre over is another and you know it. The ball was centimetres [over],” Collina was quoted by Reuters.

Collina would not be drawn into a discussion about the benefits or drawbacks of GLT.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told a press conference on Wednesday that a decision on GLT was out of the hands of European football’s governing body.

“We do what we can. We think that in addition to seeing or not seeing the goal, the additional referee gives a lot of help,” he was quoted as saying. “The fact that a mistake happened last night is bad luck, but it should not hinder us in our very positive assessment of the last three years.”

FIFA confirmed today that GLT was one of the three main topics on the IFAB’s agenda for the meeting in two weeks time. Additional Assistant Referees and the wearing of hijabs or headscarves by female players are the others.

The Dutch FA has announced its support for the use of GLT. But KNVB chiefs say it’s “not feasible” to introduce it for the new Eredivisie season, according to Dutch media reports.

The English Premier League is also keen to bring the technology into its stadia but the timing of the IFAB decision is likely to make it extremely difficult to implement for the coming season.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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