FIFA to consider big changes

FIFA will consider scrapping extra time at World Cups or reviving the ‘golden goal’ rule, the organisation’s president Sepp Blatter has announced.

Blatter wants to encourage more free-flowing football at tournaments and was concerned teams’ priority in extra-time was to secure a penalty shoot-out.

FIFA will now look at whether they should go straight to a shoot-out after 90 minutes or re-introduce the golden goal rule where the first team to score in extra time wins the game.

Blatter said: “We have to try to find a way to encourage free-flowing football in tournaments like the World Cup, with teams playing to win.

“We plan to take the opportunity to look at the concept of extra time as well.

“Often we see teams set themselves up even more defensively in extra time, in an attempt to avoid conceding a goal at all costs.

“To prevent this, we could go directly to a penalty shoot-out at full time, or reintroduce the golden goal rule. We’ll see what emerges from the committee meetings.”

Blatter said some teams at the last World Cup in South Africa played for a draw from the first whistle.

He said: “Football has become such a strategic game, with teams moving as a unit. It can be an impressive sight; gone are the days of simple tactics where you attacked then defended.

“But in the first few matches of the group stage in South Africa, we witnessed some teams that went out to avoid defeat, that were playing for a draw from the outset. This is a topic that I would like to discuss at upcoming Football and Technical Committee meetings.”

Blatter stressed however Spain’s triumph was well-deserved and he also praised the quality of Argentina, Germany and Ghana.

“For several World Cups now, we’ve been expecting a new champion to emerge. There was an element of hope that the champion would come from a continent that hadn’t produced a winner before. South Korea came very close for Asia in 2002, while this time around, a couple of centimetres were the difference between Ghana making the semi-final and being eliminated. That said, Spain’s success was well-deserved; in my opinion, they along with Argentina produced the highest quality of play.”


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