The gemara quotes a story with R. Yehuda Ben Baba who was concerned that the mesorah for semicha would be lost. He risked his life to ordain 5 or 6 of the greatest Talmidei Chachamim of the generation. His motivation was that without the mesorah for semicha - בטלו דיני קנסות מישראל . In the absence of the tradition of semicha there wouldn't be any ability to judge on penalty cases. The gemara implies that if the tradition would have have been lost, it cannot be restored. This gemara doesn't fit well with the Rambam (Sanhedrin 4:11) and in his commentary to the Mishna, who provides an innovative approach to restoring semicha even after it has been lost. The Rambam writes:
נראין לי הדברים שאם הסכימו כל החכמים שבא"י למנות דיינים ולסמוך אותם הרי אלו סמוכים ויש להם לדון דיני קנסות וכו' א"כ למה היו החכמים מצטערין על הסמיכה כדי שלא יבטלו דיני קנסות מישראל? לפי שישראל מפוזרין ואי אפשר שיסכימו כולן
The Rambam himself struggles with the fact that the gemara implies that semicha, if lost, cannot be restored. The Rambam is forced to explain that since the Jews were so scattered, it would be very difficult to use his innovative system of restoring semicha, and that is why R. Yehuda Ben Bava risked his life for it to be maintained.
In his commentary on Mishna, the rambam proves that there has to be an ability to restore semicha, because the navi testifies ואשיבה שופטיך כבראשונה, ויועציך כבתחלה and this must take place prior to the arrival of mashiach. Therefore, the consent of chachmei E.Y. would surely be enough to restore the semicha.
The rationale for the Rambam is explained very nicely in the Aruch HaShulchan (3:15). The primary reason to require a tradition for semicha is to ensure that the receiver is worthy. Therefore, when the chachamim of E.Y. agree on a candidate for semicha, he would certainly be worthy and now have the power to ordain others.
This Radvaz mentions the great debate that took place in his generation with the Mahari Bei Rav, and mahara"l ibn chaviv. The chachamim of tzefat wanted to restore semicha and ordain the mahari bei rav, based on the Rambam. Their intention was to fulfill the din of giving malkus to those who are chayav kareis and coming to do teshuva, to remove their punishment of kareis. The Radvaz comments that the chachmei tzefat failed in their attempt (and that they even consulted him while he was living in Egypt, but he didn't support this), which seems very different that the kiryas sefer's statement - והיום כמו עשרה שנים בשנת הרח"ץ הסכימו רוב חכמי ישראל שבא"י לסמוך לגדול בדורו מוה"ר יעקב בירב ז"ל והוא סמך קצת מתלמידיו המובהקים יבורכו מפי עליון להחזיר העטרה ליושנה אמן. Nonetheless, history shows that no one took the semicha seriously enough for it to continue to future generations.
The Radvaz points out that the flaw of the chachmei tzefat was: 1. The Rambam concludes - והדבר צריך הכרע so how can that be ignored. 2. The Rambam says that because the jews were so scattered, it would be difficult to restore semicha. This implies that they must all be brought together as one group to decide on the issue, and it cannot be done with written letters from around E.Y. 3. The person receiving semicha must be fit to pasken in ALL areas of Torah and he claims - ורחוק בעיני שיש בדור הזה מי שראוי להורות בכל התורה כולה.
Regarding the Rambam's proof in pirush hamishna that dayanim must be restored before mashiach arrives, the radvaz rejects because perhaps they will be give semicha by Eliyahu HaNavi.
The Maharal Ibn Chaviv devotes and entire kunteros to this subject, which he presented to the chachamim of Tzefat as a rejection of their initiative. He claims that when the Rambam writes that "all" chachamim of E.Y. must agree, he doesn't mean to say that a democratic majority is also sufficient. Furthermore, since the entire objective is to free those who want to do teshuva from kareis by giving them lashes, their goal won't be acheived. Malkus cannot be given in the absence of witnesses, and even if it were given, it wouldn't qualify as malkus to exempt from kareis unless there are witnesses. He also writes that the Ramban who says that kiddush hachodesh will not be restored until moshiach comes, clearly disagrees with the Rambam's ability to restore semicha.
The Ya'avetz suggests that the reason that the semicha that R. Akiva gave to R. Meir wasn't accepted, had nothing to do with his age. Rather, the peshat may be that since the beis hamikdash was already destroyed, the power of an individual to issue semicha without consulting all rabbanei E.Y. was lost. This would support the position of the maharal ibn chaviv, because if R. Akiva who had semicha couldn't pass it on without all chachmei E.Y., it certainly can't be recreated without all chachmei E.Y. and even a single Rav can prevent it from going through. The difficulty with the peshat of the ya'avetz is that it isn't clear why the semicha of R. Yehuda Ben bava was more accepted, unless we assume that the 5 zekainim that he gave semicha to were all the chachamim of E.Y.