Diego Maradona backs video referees despite ‘Hand of God’ goal


Diego Maradona has backed the use of video assistant referees (VARs) despite accepting his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal would not have stood had the technology existed in 1986.

Maradona used his hand to score against England in Argentina’s 2-1 win in the World Cup quarter-finals 31 years ago.

“Obviously I think about it whenever I show my support for the use of technology,” Maradona told Fifa.com.

 “I thought about it and, sure, that goal wouldn’t have stood.”

Maradona admitted he benefited from the lack of technology at a World Cup not once, but twice.

“I’ll tell you something else – at the 1990 World Cup I used my hand to clear the ball off the line [in a group game] against the Soviet Union,” he said.

“We were lucky because the referee didn’t see it. You couldn’t use technology back then, but it’s a different story today.”

The 56-year-old added Geoff Hurst’s controversial goal for England in the 1966 World Cup final would also have been ruled out had VARs been available.

Geoff Hurst scored England's third goal
Hurst scored England’s third goal against West Germany, the ball coming down off the underside of the bar and bouncing down on the line. After consulting his linesman, the referee awarded the goal

“England won the World Cup in ’66 with a shot that didn’t go over the line,” he said.

“There have been lots of incidents where World Cup history would have been different if technology had been used. It’s time to change all that.”

Technology debate

World governing body Fifa has tested VARs at several tournaments in the run up to next year’s World Cup in Russia, where the technology will be used.

The system provides referees with the ability to use video to make rulings on goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

Its use at the recent Confederations Cup was met with a mixed reception, with several contentious moments drawing criticism from some players and pundits.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino described the system’s use at the Confederations Cup as a “great success”, but conceded work was needed on “the details” such as the speed of decisions.

“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,” added Maradona, who coaches Al-Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

“Football can’t fall behind. Given the rate at which technology is advancing and the fact that every sport uses it, how can we not think about using it in football?”




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