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IFAB: Video refs set to drive major rule changes

As football's lawmaking body forges ahead on how best to implement key rule changes through the use of video referees, European powerhouse Spain fears being left behind through a lack of domestic cooperation.
David Elleray, the technical director of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), said video assistant referees could help bring modifications to the handball rule to make the game fairer with the introduction of penalty goals being mooted.
The former referee said incidents like Luis Suarez's handball on the line during Uruguay's 2010 World Cup tie against Ghana was discussed. The African side missed the resulting penalty and a chance to advance to the semi-finals.
"The IFAB is looking at 25 areas of the game aiming to make it fairer and handball is one of those," the 62-year-old Briton told the Times on Thursday. 
"One of those areas we are discussing is incidents similar to the handball by Luis Suárez in the 2010 World Cup. A lot of people have said in those kind of incidents 'why can't you give that as a goal if it is clearly going in?'."
Video assistance, which is being tested ahead of the 2018 World Cup, played a key role earlier this week when it led to a disallowed goal from France striker Antoine Griezmann for offside in a friendly against Spain.
However, La Liga president Javier Tebas said the benefactors of that decision were far behind other countries in implementing video technology due to insufficient assistance from Angel Maria Villar, the president of the national football federation (RFEF).
"We've been working with FIFA on the matter and the Federation haven't come to a single meeting," Tebas was quoted as saying in Thursday's edition of Spanish daily Marca.
"The fact we aren't working on it now is damaging our league, as we need to train our referees, get our stadiums ready."
The Spanish top flight is the only one of Europe's leading five leagues not to utilise goal-line technology. The issue came under the spotlight in January when Barcelona drew 1-1 at Real Betis after failing to have a goal awarded when the ball had clearly crossed the line. 
Tebas said at the time that goal-line technology was too expensive to be implemented in Spain but added that he was in favour of a video assistant referee, which he said would be in operation in Spain by July 2018.

Wenger: Ozil, Sanchez want to stay at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes midfielder Mesut Ozil and striker Alexis Sanchez are keen on extending their contracts beyond the end of next season with the Premier League club.
Ozil and Sanchez are holding out for a huge increase in their salary, according to British media reports, while Wenger has previously said that contract talks are on hold until the end of the season.
Sanchez, who has indicated he would like to see out his contract, is the club's top scorer with 22 goals this season.
"I personally believe both of them want to stay. I hope the club will find an agreement with them," Wenger told reporters on Thursday.
Calls for Wenger to end his 20-year role have grown louder after Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League in the last-16 for a seventh straight season and lost four of their last five league matches to slide down to sixth.
Wenger is keen to extend his stay, according to British media reports, but said his future at the club is far from certain.
"I am very clear in my mind. Do I stay two more years? My commitment will be the same. It does not influence my attitude," Wenger added. "It's a subject that is not sorted completely."
Wenger also rejected suggestions that the uncertainty surrounding his future was causing instability at the club and impacting results."No, we won't look for excuses. Results are not what we want. Priority is what happens on the pitch," he said, while backing the introduction of video technology to review decisions in the sport.
Midfielder Santi Cazorla, who was initially expected to return early this year, will not play again this season as the 32-year-old Spaniard has failed to recover from an ankle injury sustained in October last year, Wenger confirmed.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech, who limped off during Arsenal's loss at West Bromwich Albion this month, is expected to miss the next two games with calf injury. 
Striker Lucas Perez will also sit out Sunday's match against third-placed Manchester City with a thigh problem.
Wenger hinted Arsenal will be active in the next transfer window.
"We have a strong foundation but the team needs to be strengthened," he added.

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