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Mid-Day Ticker: FIFA proposes rule change, Togo appeals ACN ban and more



The double-whammy that is the red card/penalty kick may be no more.

FIFA has submitted an item for the International Football Associations Board to review that would downgrade a red card to a yellow on a foul that denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity in the box.

Instead of a team losing a player (for the remainder of the game and subsequent suspension) and facing the penalty, the proposed change would lighten the punishment and make the incident slightly less dreadful for the offending team.

Players committing a last-man foul outside of the penalty area could still be vulnerable to seeing red under the rule change.

The IFAB meeting will be March 6, and other issues up for review include goal-line referees and stopping during the run up to taking a penalty.

Here are a few other stories that will help get you to the weekend:


The Togo Football Federation has appealed the African Cup of Nations ban handed down by the African Football Confederation after the team pulled out of this year's tournament.

Togo's team bus was attacked in Angola in early January, resulting in the deaths of a bus driver and two others. The ban, which extends over the next two ACN tournaments (2012, 2014), caused a public outrage, but the CAF held its stance after concluding that the team withdrew because of government interference.

Togo and Manchester City star Emmanuel Adebayor has not hid his feelings about the incident and the ban. He perhaps sums up the insensitivity of the ban the best by telling The National newspaper:

"We went to the Africa Cup of Nations to play. We got attacked; two of our people passed away, and our goalkeeper got three bullets in his body. They managed to take two out and he's still got one. He will live all his life with that bullet in his body – and the CAF decide to ban us. I'm surprised, and, for me, it shows that for human beings in Africa, our life is very cheap. That's the worst thing."


Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has opined that Wayne Bridge would play for England if called upon, now that Ashley Cole is sidelined with a broken ankle.

England has a friendly March 3 against Egypt, and Fabio Capello has yet to name his squad.

The controversy, of course, surrounds the affair that John Terry had with Bridge's ex-girlfriend that resulted in Terry losing his captaincy to Rio Ferdinand.

Bridge has been Cole's backup at left back and is next in line for the starting spot on the same back line as Terry. Bridge, too, has been battling injury woes, but has played in City's last two games after missing the previous eight.

Cole underwent surgery Friday for the injury suffered in a challenge with Landon Donovan in Chelsea's match with Everton on Wednesday. He is expected to miss the next three months.


The United States appears to be losing one competitor for its bid at the 2022 World Cup after an Indonesian government official told Reuters that the country will be pulling its bid to host the tournament.

The official claimed that the resources that would be put toward bringing the World Cup to Indonesia would be better served on improving the quality of the national team. Indonesia is ranked 136th in the world according to the most recent FIFA rankings.

Spanish sports officials, meanwhile, are expressing uncertainty in their Portuguese counterparts in regards to their joint bid at hosting the 2018 World Cup.

It has been widely speculated that the 2018 tournament will be awarded to a European bidder. The other European countries with bids are England, Russia and Belgium/Netherlands. The United States, Australia and Japan are also in the running for 2018 and 2022, and South Korea and Qatar are in the mix for 2022 only.


Defending-champion Estudiantes got a hat trick from Mauro Boselli and kicked off its Copa Libertadores title defense with a 5-1 win over Peru's Juan Aurich in Group 3 play on Thursday.

Other scores from this week's group stage matches:


Cerro Porteno 1, Independiente Medellin 1


Sao Paulo 2, Monterrey 0

Nacional 0, Once Caldas 2


Bolivar 1, Alianza Lima 3


Blooming 1, Universitario de Deportes 2

Lanus 0, Libertad 2


Cerro 2, Deportivo Quito 0


Nacional 3, Club Deportivo Cuenca 2

Banfield 2, Morelia 1


Velez Sarsfield 2, Cruziero 0


Are you rooting for FIFA's proposed rule change? Hope that Togo's ban gets lifted? Can Terry and Bridge coexist on the pitch? What do you think the United States' chances are at hosting in 2018? 2022? 

Share your thoughts below. 


  1. There are a number of things for a referee to consider before pulling a red for Dogso-F, one of which is whether the foul was deliberate. Trips can be accidents, yet still fouls. That would be a PK with no card. An intentional trip warrants a card.

  2. i dont know who, but i somehow see an outside governing body stepping in here. when i read that they were baned i thought it was a joke this is absolutely ridiculous.

  3. I think a lot of people are missing the point on this rule change. It just gives the ref the oppurtunity to use common sense on fouls that may have been unintentional in the box but are PK worthy. It will actually result in more goals as refs are more inclined to not make a call for a PK now if that result is going to carry a red card as well as a PK. Anything that is intentional or malicious will still warrant a PK and a red card. Good move by FIFA allowing for common sense to used…..

  4. You all are missing the point, if its a drag down obvious foul outside the penalty area where the attacker has free run on goal, the a red card still comes out with a direct free kick…if the same thing happens inside the penalty area and deemed a “professional” foul than its a PK with a yellow card…I get what he’s trying to say, not to get punished twice for the same infraction (PK and red card)…I don’t necessarily agree, but do understand the point.

  5. Intentional hand balls outside the box are yellows, unless committed by attacking players. Hand balls in attack are rarely sanctioned beyond a free kick even if they occur in the box.

    Maybe fewer forwards would be trying that if a card were the consequence.

  6. Law Five states that the referee shall sanction the most serious offense if two offense are committed at the same time. Applying this maxim, the proper call in your hypothetical would be to:
    1) Award the penalty for the foul,
    2) Send off the offending player.

    And yelling players? They’re a dime per almost two dozen.

  7. Josh:

    The DOGSO by foul a different item in Law 12 than DOGSO by hand ball. If I’m reading the IFAB proposal correctly, they’re only talking about changing the former into a Caution if in the penalty area. The same act outside would be a red, as would the DOGSO by deliberate handling.

    Of course… I could be missing something. I am a ref after all. 😉

  8. Did anyone see that the Georgian Luge team is considering pulling out of the event after one of their luger’s died while training? I wonder if the IOC will ban Georgia from the 2016 and 2020 olympics. CAF should be forced to disband.

  9. I’ve tried to find the reasoning behind CAF’s banning Togo, but I’ve come up empty. It’s the most absurd thing I’ve seen in a very long time.

    For once I have to agree with someone FIFA is doing. I’ve always thought it was a bit harsh to eject a player, then give the opposing team a PK. Obviously there are cases where the foul is hard, and a red card is necessary. I also think FIFA needs to mandate a red card for diving in the box. It will stop diving immediately.

    I know Wayne Bridge is Cole’s backup, but Leighton Baines isn’t a bad option either. So far this EPL season, Bridge has been horrible. Baines has a great left foot and speed, and probably has his girlfriend/wife locked up far away from JT.

  10. Yeah, this can’t possibly be the proposal. Maybe whether to award a red or not in the box would now be within the ref’s discretion. That would kind of make sense: they would consider how clear the goal-scoring opportunity was and maybe how particulary unprofessional the foul.

  11. I think the change is a good idea. Ref’s would start calling more fouls in the box, in time I think it would open the game up a bit. The double whammie is really too much

  12. I think they should keep the automatic red card and re-examine the rules for awarding penalty kicks. It is nearly an automatic goal, which is often the difference in the game. I think they should consider direct kicks inside the box if the penalty occurs more than 10 yards from the goal line. Maybe create a 10 yard penalty box.

  13. While I agree that the Togo ban is absurd, I think a lot of people don’t understand why it was given. It wasn’t because Togo pulled out; rather it was because the team decided to keep playing, and then the Togolese government ordered them to pull out. This constituted government interference in sport, which has been a big issue for AFCON in the past. I still think it was unwarranted, but it’s not the way many have been portraying it.

  14. No, they’re not. Van Nistlerooy has punched probably a dozen balls into the net over the course of his career, and he never gets more than a yellow for it.

  15. An intentional handball outside of the box isn’t even a yellow most of the time. Remember that per the rules there is no such thing as an unintentional handball.

  16. I don’t necessarily disagree with the proposed rule change. I think too many times refs are forced to make the decision between red card/penalty vs no foul at all. If you give them the flexibility to call a penalty/yellow OR penalty/red OR nothing I think we’d see more PK’s given when they are deserved. It should be a judgment call and as long as they still have the option to give a red for blatant/dangerous foul then I’m all for it. If the don’t have the option to give a red, then no, bad idea.

  17. I would say there might be some discretion here where goalies are concerned. As it stands, it’s basically an automatic ejection even if the goalie is making a legitimate effort to play the ball. The ref should have some leeway here to assign a yellow, if the intention was not to den the opportunity but merely a failed attempt to reach the ball because the attacker was skilled enough to play the ball away…or, worse, because the attacker deliberately drew the contact.

  18. I think the point is doing something lame, like a foul or handball, that stops a scoring opportunity. My opinion, if you cheat, you should be severely punished, and lets face it, a tactical foul to stop a scoring chance is cheating.

  19. I agree with that one, a suspension for accumulation of yellows in tourney’s hurts the game, the teams, and the tourney…

    A game is a unique event and warnings in that game shouldn’t carry over to others.

  20. one thing that is starting bother me about this site – Ives didn’t write this article, it clearly states that Avi Creditor did, but mot people don’t seem to get that

    Not Ives fault since it’s pretty clear but seriously, are we that absent minded to notice wording but not who wrote the story?

  21. I always thought getting rid of 1 game suspensions for red cards was a good idea. Suspensions for yellow card accumulation also always struck me as harsh. Footie used to be a contact sport. Now players get yellows – and sometimes reds – for a lot of hard but clean tackles.

    That written, lowering a ‘professional foul’ to a yellow seems a step backward.

  22. Just what we need, another rule to reduce scoring and encourage fouling and poor sportsmanship.

    I have an idea. How about getting rid of fouls completely? Anything goes. We don’t need scoring or exciting game play. The fouls are why people watch and play soccer anyway.

    FIFA gets more incompetent every year.

  23. I like the concept of this rule, because as it stands now red cards become desensitized w/in the box. Red cards should be predominantly reserved for violent challenges in the area. Red cards awarded for penalties in the box, should only be for flagrant hand balls and or violent play. Yellows should be awarded for non-violent last man plays… Like the flagrant foul in the nba.

  24. Ives,

    I think that you need to clarify your article on the rule change. They are only talking about the proposed change the instance that the last defender takes down the player in the box. This is not any red card offense in the box such as a handball. So such a foul as a handball to block a shot would be a red and PK. A player on a ‘break away’ fouled by the last defender would recieve only a yellow not a red and a PK. either way I still think that the rule change is stupid! Tactiful foul or not you should be punished!

  25. Agreed – this is a stupid, stupid, stupid proposal. Get ready to see a lot more intentional hand balls on the goal line (aka the “Torsten Frings”) if this goes through.

  26. Hopefully the rule change only means that the red card is not “automatic.” The referee should have the abilitity to decide whether or nto the foul should be red-worthy, rather than having a player sent off as a result of a technicality. In the event of a blatant foul, the red would still be issued.

  27. What if you break a guy’s leg with a studs-up, from behind lunge in the box as he’s about to score? Yellow card?

    If violent play and DOGSO occur on the same tackle in the box, does the ref have to sit there and decide 1. It’s a penalty 2. The tackle was/was not violent or dangerously from behind 3. DOGSO occurred.

    Does violent play trump DOGSO and necessitate a red? Does it have to be a tackle from behind? What about clotheslining a guy as he runs past?

    All the while the ref is being yelled at by players on both teams.

    A ridiculous and unnecessary can of worms to open up.

    FIFA is truly run by idiots.

  28. Yeah you’re right–or you could just hack someone down in the box, take the yellow, and hope the keeper saves the pk. This would be a bad move by FIFA.

  29. That rule change would be very foolish.. So if someone beats the goalie and is all but guarenteed a goal and a defender blatantly takes him down in the box he gets a yellow? then the penalty is blocked. It sounds to me like a step back in soccer..

  30. The Togo ban is such a sad situation. If anything I think they should have been given an automatic qualification into the next tournament but instead they are punished with a ban that is the worst case of going by the letter of the law.

    Fifa should have intervened by now. There should be more pressure on the CAF to rectify the situation. The team decided to mourn the people they lost which was a braver decision than just playing.

  31. Looks like the 2018 bid could be down to Belgium/Netherlands and England. I’m not convinced by Russia and I haven’t seen much from Spain/Portugal. It seems like the bid is England’s to lose, but they have shown a few internal struggles while Belgium/Netherlands seems solid.

  32. Ives,

    Is the Togo ACN ban story getting a lot of attention throughout the rest of the world I hope? I am surprised the US media isn’t making more of it. Yes, it’s a soccer related story, but it’s an outrage of the highest degree, and usually such a story would have more traction in the US. The Italian match fixing scandal was written up in the NY Times for several days. Anything you can do to generate awareness?


  33. The ban on Togo is preposterous.

    I agree that normally government interference is a bad thing and it is something you want to come down hard on – but there has to be a degree of common sense in the application of the law.

    CAF looks like heartless bureacrats here – I hope someone in the African federation or in FIFA gets a clue and realizes that this ban is a terrible injustice.

  34. IF the guy is going to score. FIFA wants you to foul them…unlike FIFA changing the rules, it is the only decision that makes sense.

  35. Ives can we get a summary as to what has to happen for a proposal to go through – did it need to reach a required vote to be submitted to the board or can anyone submit one? How would it become a new ruling?

  36. Dropping it to a yellow is a terrible decision! If someone is going to score on my team, now I can stick my hand out and block it – get my yellow – and hope the PK is missed/blocked.. A ref can’t give a goal so there has to be harsh penalties to those who take away clear opportunities.

  37. So a last-man foul on a goal scoring opportunity in the box is a yellow and PK, outside of the box it’s a red and free kick? Seems like a stupid proposal to me.


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