Wednesday Kickoff: FIFA considers rule changes; United, Spurs close gap & more

Wednesday Kickoff: FIFA considers rule changes; United, Spurs close gap & more

International Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: FIFA considers rule changes; United, Spurs close gap & more

Blatter (Reuters Pictures)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

FIFA is considering a number of rule changes that could have a major impact on the international game going forward.

The major proposal that FIFA's board is facing would allow teams to use a fourth substitute in extra time in an attempt to cut down on player injuries. Several organizations on both the medical and player sides of the argument reportedly say that the change will also improve the quality of matches that extend to 120 minutes.

The decision will be made when the International FA board meets next month. The board is also expected to further evaluate introducing goal-line technology, moving to a five-referee system and whether denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity should be punished with a red card, among other proposals.

Here are some more stories to kick off your day:

UNITED, SPURS CLOSE PREMIER LEAGUE GAP

If you thought Manchester City were going to run away with the Premier League title, think again.

Darren Gibson scored his first goal for Everton since arriving from Manchester United off a layoff pass from Landon Donovan in a 1-0 upset of the league leaders. Tuesday's loss, coupled with United's 2-0 victory over Stoke City, leaves City level with United on points, but they maintain pole position based on goal difference. Manchester City have hit a poor run of form with exits from the Carling and FA Cups and now face a difficult title race. United, meanwhile, had Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov score from the penalty spot to snatch three points from Stoke.

Tottenham also closed the gap on City, riding a Gareth Bale brace to a 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic, one that pulls Spurs within five points of the Manchester clubs.

Conversely, Chelsea fell further away from the pack with a woeful performance in a 1-1 draw away to Swansea. Jose Bosingwa forced a fortuitous own goal from Neil Taylor in stoppage time after Scott Sinclair put Swansea up with a superb, looping shot in the first half. The game also saw the dismissal of Ashley Cole, who will miss Sunday's massive clash with Manchester United.

Elsewhere, Andy Carroll ended his scoring slump in Liverpool's 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt added the insurance goals for the Reds, who pulled two points clear of Arsenal for fifth place, though the Gunners have a game in hand.

GRAYSON SACKED BY LEEDS

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson was a big proponent of Robbie Rogers' move to the club. As it turns out, he'll never get a chance to coach the American international in a match.

Grayson was sacked on Wednesday following the club's embarassing 4-1 home loss to Birmingham City. The loss has Leeds in 10th place in the League Championship, stuck in a crowd of clubs within reaching distance of the sixth place, which is the final spot in the promotion playoff. 

Neil Redfearn, the coach of Leeds' youth team, will take over on an interim basis while a long-term replacement is found for Grayson, who had been at the club since 2008.

TERRY TRIAL SET FOR JULY

John Terry's place at Euro 2012 has been assured after his racism trial was scheduled for July 9.

Terry did not attend the preliminary hearing on Tuesday but his lawyer submitted a "not guilty" plea. Judge Howard Riddle delayed the trial until after the European Championships, because many players who will be used as witnesses will not be available until then. Terry faces a fine of £2,500 and has denied any wrong doing.

GABON, MOROCCO NOTCH SHUTOUT ACN WINS

Gabon secured its place atop Group C at the African Cup of Nations with a tight 1-0 win over Tunisia on Tuesday. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the only goal in the game as Gabon surprisingly cruised through group play with three wins. Tunisia advanced despite the loss and will likely face off against co-favorites Ghana in the quarterfinals, assuming Ghana takes care of business against Guinea on Wednesday..

Morocco managed to leave Equatorial Guinea with at least a few points as it beat Niger 1-0 in a largely meaningless game, as both teams had already been eliminated. Younes Belhanda scored the only goal for Morocco. Niger finishes the tournament on zero points and a -4 goal difference.

—————–

What do you make of the proposed rule changes? How do you see the Premier League race unfolding? What do you think the managerial change means for Rogers? Should Terry be allowed to captain England? Think the ACN is Ghana's tournament to lose?

Share your thoughts below.

More from

More SBI
Home