FIFA experts want to reduce red cards

By Graham Dunbar

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 25 2011 9:27 a.m. MDT

Members of the FIFA Football Task Force 2014 pose for a group photograph, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 in front of the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland. Front row, from left: FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, Fernando Hierro of Spain, Ivan Curkovic of Serbia, Tracy Lu of China, Chairman Kalusha Bwalya of Zambia, FIFA President Joseph Blatter, Chairman Franz Beckenbauer of Germany and Marina Sbardella of Italy. Back row, from left: Jean-Paul Brigger of Switzerland, Kozo Tashima of Japan, Carlos Alarcon of Paraguay, Massimo Busacca of Switzerland, Dejan Savicevic of Montenegro, Demetrio Albertini of Italy, Cafu (Marcos Evangelista de Moraes) of Brazil, Jiri Dvorak of Switzerland, Peter Mikkelsen of Denmark, Theo van Seggelen of Netherlands, and Christian Karembeu of France.

Keystone, Alessandro Della Bella, Associated Press

ZURICH — 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 new 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). It next meets March 3 in England and can approve the 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 routinely 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.

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