/ Soccer

FIFA to consider rule changes

Updated: Saturday, 06 Mar 2010 15:05

Michel Platini's much derided 'extra referee' system is up for discussion
Michel Platini's much derided 'extra referee' system is up for discussion

FIFA have been urged to drop extra assistant referees, and to consider abandoning red cards for denying goalscoring chances.

Football's law-makers are meeting in Zurich today.

FIFA's former director of refereeing George Cumming believes the plan being championed by UEFA president Michel Platini for an extra official behind each goal is not practical.

Cumming, now working with referee development in Asia, said: ‘I'm not in favour of it and I can't see it developing throughout world football.

‘To have extra assistant referees means extra expense and it's only elite competitions using them right now. You want basic laws to apply throughout the world.’

The system is being trialled in the Europa League and today's International FA Board (IFAB) meeting will be updated on how successful the experiment has been.

The IFAB will also decide on a change to the rule-book which could lead to a dramatic drop in red cards but there will be no discussion on changes to the offside rule.

They will rule on a FIFA proposal where players would no longer receive an automatic red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity if the referee gives a penalty as well.

There have been reports that FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been investigating how hockey plays without offsides, but FIFA insist there is no suggestion that he wants to bring this into football.

The main item on the agenda is the automatic red card and there has been a growing chorus of opinion that the punishment is too harsh - a penalty, a red card for the defender and a subsequent suspension.

Carling Cup final referee Phil Dowd is widely believed to not have applied the rules correctly when he awarded a penalty but did not dismiss Nemanja Vidic for fouling Gabriel Agbonlahor last Sunday.

A rule change would clear up such grey areas and FIFA have submitted the item suggesting the offence is down-graded to a yellow card if a penalty is awarded.

The IFAB agenda says the FIFA submission is ‘to discuss sending-off offences, particularly the triple punishment (penalty kick, red card, player suspension) that results when a player denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to the opposing team’.

FIFA are also raising the issue of whether players should be allowed to feint at all during the run-up to take a penalty - for some penalty-takers such as Robbie Keane it has become a trademark of their spot-kick routine.

The current law is open to interpretation with feinting being permitted unless the referee considers it ‘an act of unsporting behaviour’.

The role of the fourth official will be brought up by the SFA who want him - or her - to be allowed to have direct influence with the referee over decisions on the pitch.

Powered by NewsWhip