British FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce says he is "shocked and honoured" to be awarded one of the most important roles within the game, head of FIFA Referees Committee, and says he will do all he can to make sure the best officials are used in major competitions in order to avoid any hint of corruption or dirty tricks.
Boyce recently ran the FIFA under-20 World Cup organising committee in Turkey and is understood to have impressed FIFA with his organisational skills. Nevertheless, the Northern Irishman was stunned at being appointed referees boss in succession to Spain's Angel Maria Villar as part of a political-style reshuffle by FIFA. "This came completely out of the blue and I'm both shocked and honoured," said Boyce, part of whose remit will be to oversee referees selected for next year's World Cup in Brazil and other FIFA competitions. "It's an incredibly important committee within FIFA and I will try to ensure that the best referees are appointed for the major matches. There has been criticism in the past about certain referees being chosen for certain games. I will try and ensure they are appointed on ability and credibility." Boyce is a strong advocate of goalline technology and says most top referees feel the same way. But, he said, he would instantly reject any sign of a move to extend technology to other areas of the game like offsides or penalties, the kind of slippery slope feared by UEFA president Michel Platini who is leading the anti-goalline technology lobby. "Let me make it clear that I am totally and utterly against any other form of technology," declared Boyce. "But I'm 100 percent behind goalline technology and I'll tell you why. Other things like penalty decisions are opinions. A goal is fact. It was either over the line or it wasn't. For many years when I was a match delegate, I spoke to most of the top referees and there was not one of them who did not welcome goalline technology because the game is now so fast".