Red card rules may be altered

PLAYERS may no longer be sent off for fouls which deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity if the referee gives a penalty as well, under a proposal submitted to the game’s rulemaking body.

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.

FIFA have submitted the item to the International FA Board meeting on March 6 and the outcome may be that the offence is downgraded to a yellow card if a penalty is awarded.

The IFAB agenda released yesterday 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 latest developments in goal-line technology and the ongoing experiment in the Europa League of having two extra assistant referees behind each goal-line will also be discussed at the meeting in Zurich.

The IFAB is made up of representatives of the English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish associations, who each have one vote, and FIFA, who have four votes.

Any rule change needs a minimum of six votes in favour.


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