Fifa to consider introducing fourth substitute in extra-time

Fifa panel reveals proposals with a view to improving the quality of the game over the next four years

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
sepp blatter
The group will discuss its work at the Fifa congress in June Photo: Marcello Casal Jr. / ABr

sepp blatter

A fourth substitution in extra-time and the clarification of the offside rule were two of the proposals put forward by Fifa’s Task Force Football 2014 after its first meeting on Tuesday.

The Task Force, the first panel of its kind since 1990, has been established to improve the quality of the game and is set come up with “concrete solutions” by next year’s Fifa congress.

Also on the agenda in Zurich was the need to professionalise refereeing, and the possible scrapping of the “triple punishment” – when players conceding a penalty are shown a red card that also results in a one-match ban. The panel believes some penalty-box fouls should be punished only with a booking.

Other proposals include the scrapping of extra-time in all Fifa under-17 competitions, and ideas for an initiative to increase the number of female coaches and referees in the women’s game.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said the goal of the group is to “increase the attractiveness of the game” and to “meet fans’ changing demands and expectations”.

“The Task Force 2014 is debating a huge number of topics, for example refereeing standards, competition formats, and match supervision,” he said.

“We’re expecting to develop productive proposals for submission to a variety of bodies such as the FIFA Executive Committee and the International Football Association Board.”

Referee Massimo Busacca added: “In terms of refereeing, we could certainly improve overall levels of performance during matches. Our goal is to field genuinely good referees in Brazil [at the World Cup] in 2014.

“Obviously, we need professional referees, and not just in name: we need high quality on the field of play too.”

The Task Force chairman Franz Beckenbauer, who was absent from Tuesday’s initial meeting because of a back injury, will brief Fifa members on the panel’s work at this year’s congress in Zurich on 1 June.

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