FIFA experts want to reduce red cards

AP, Tuesday 25 Oct 2011

A FIFA expert panel proposed Tuesday that referees should be more lenient with players who give away a penalty


The FIFA Task Force Football 2014 led by Franz Beckenbauer agreed that the so-called “triple punishment” of penalty, red card and suspension is too severe.

“A penalty is enough if it is a simple foul or a tackle where you try to get the ball but you are a second late,” Beckenbauer, a World Cup-winning player and coach with West Germany, said.

“If you have a violent foul, if it would have been a red card anywhere on the field, then it’s a penalty and a red card.”

Red cards would still be given for handball offenses which stop a certain goal, under the 20-member panel’s proposal.

FIFA’s head of refereeing, Massimo Busacca, said the proposal would have stopped him sending off South Africa’s goalkeeper in a 2010 World Cup match against Uruguay.

Busacca was required to dismiss Itumeleng Khune for bringing down Luis Suarez despite only slight contact. South Africa lost 3-0 and Khune missed the final group-stage match against France.

“This is one of the changes we would want to see, when the goalkeeper challenges but finds the (forward’s) legs,” said Busacca, who is part of the expert panel.

FIFA will now present a new draft to its rules-making panel, known as the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which has previously upheld the triple sanction when defenders and goalkeepers deny attackers a goal-scoring opportunity.

IFAB next meets March 3 in England and can approve changes that would take effect in July.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter created the task force to suggest ways of improving football before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

In a four-hour session Tuesday, the panel debated giving more clarity to the offside law relating to players who are not actively involved in an attacking move.

Busacca said he advised referees and assistants to let play unfold before judging whether players in an offside position were “active or passive.”

“I don’t think we could find better words,” the Swiss two-time World Cup referee said.

The task force, which included former World Cup winners Cafu of Brazil and Christian Karembeu of France, agreed to discuss the offside rule at its next scheduled meeting in December.

They also backed a previous IFAB decision that coaches should not use gadgets and technology aids in the dugout.

The panel also discussed if temporary substitutions could help injured players be treated more effectively during matches.

Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, said the idea was raised in talks about setting minimum standards for treating bleeding injuries and possible concussions.

The panel wants portable defibrillators to be available at all international matches, as it works toward presenting medical guidelines for national team doctors and organizers of competitions run by FIFA and its six continental confederations.

“The number one priority is proper treatment of players,” Dvorak said, adding that he preferred more “shared decisions” on players’ treatment.

The case of Arjen Robben exposed tensions between Bayern Munich and the Netherlands when he was sidelined for six months in Germany after returning from the World Cup with a hamstring injury.

Dvorak said teams could make more use of FIFA’s global network of 22 accredited medical centers of excellence.

FIFA also is monitoring “abuse” of anti-inflammatory drugs and food supplements by players at Under-17 tournaments.

“This is also a trend that we do not like to see,” Dvorak said.

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