PARIS (AFP) – Argentinian great Diego Maradona accepted that his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal would have been ruled out with video technology, as he backed the use of video assistant referees (VAR).
Maradona used his hand to score in Argentina’s 2-1 quarter-final victory against England during their 1986 World Cup-winning campaign, and also admitted to another crucial handball in the 1990 tournament.
“I think about it whenever I show my support for the use of technology,” he told Fifa.com.
“I thought about it and, sure, that goal wouldn’t have stood if technology had been around.
“And I’ll tell you something else: at the 1990 World Cup I used my hand to clear the ball off the line against the Soviet Union.
“We were lucky because the referee didn’t see it. You couldn’t use technology then, but it’s a different story today.”
Goalline technology is now widely used in world football, while VAR was used for the first time in a senior international tournament during last month’s Confederations Cup in Russia.
The system worked to varying degrees of success, with many incorrect decisions rectified, but plenty of critics accused it of taking too long and being confusing for supporters.
“Football can’t fall behind,” insisted Maradona.
“People used to say that we’d waste a lot of time, that it would cause a lot of annoyance. But that’s not the case.
“People get annoyed when something that shouldn’t be given is given, or when you have a goal wrongly disallowed. Technology brings transparency and quality, and it provides a positive outcome for teams who decide to attack and take risks.”
Maradona was keen to point out that it wouldn’t have only been controversial incidents involving him that would have been different with technology. “It’s not just my goal in ’86 that wouldn’t have counted. Let’s not forget that England won the World Cup in ’66 with a shot that didn’t go over the line,” he added.
“Then it happened to them in 2010, when (Frank) Lampard’s shot crossed the line against Germany but wasn’t given. England had the ball and scored the goal they deserved, but Germany grew in confidence after that and it changed the match completely”.
Earlier this year FIFA president Gianni Infantino said VAR would be used at next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
He defended its use in the Confederations Cup, saying that while improvements could be made, without VAR the tournament “would have been a little less fair.”