By AVI CREDITOR
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:
TOGO APPEALS ACN BAN
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."
MANCINI: BRIDGE WOULD PLAY WITH TERRY
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.
INDONESIA PULLS WORLD CUP BID
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.
COPA LIBERTADORES UPDATE
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.