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Afternoon Ticker: FIFA considers World Cup change, Wenger extension and more

Sepp Blatter 1 (Getty Images)


On the day that the English Premier League season began, FIFA may have stole the headlines.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that the sport's governing body is considering doing away with ties in the group stages of the World Cup. Blatter suggested that this approach would end defensive-minded teams from playing for draws in the early games of the tournament

Blatter also said FIFA will contemplate whether or not a tie game in the group stage should be decided through penalty kicks or the Golden Goal rule, which was last used in a World Cup in 2002 in South Korea and Japan.

Here are more stories from Saturday: 

Wenger signs Arsenal extension

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has extended his stay at the club, agreeing to a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2013-2014 season. Wenger agreed to the new deal just a day before Arsenal opens up its Premiership campaign against Liverpool. This season will be Wenger's 15th in charge of the Gunners.

Gerrard hoping Arteta earns England call-up

Steven Gerrard has admitted that he'd love to see Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta suit up for England's national team. Originally from Spain, Arteta has never been capped by La Furia Roja, and Gerrard thinks the 28-year-old should pursue playing for England since he qualifies for the residency rule by having lived in England for five years.

Cardiff City eyeing Bellamy

Championship club Cardiff City has set its sights on forward Craig Bellamy, who has fallen out of favor with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. Cardiff City manager Dave Jones revealed his interest in the Welsh international following his club's 2-1 win over Derby County, but he believes Cardiff might be the least favored choice among Bellamy's suitors. 

Bellamy is also currently linked with Celtic, Fulham and Tottenham.


What do you think of FIFA potentially doing away with World Cup draws? Happy/disappointed to see Wenger staying on? Do you see Arteta suiting up for England? Should Bellamy sign with Cardiff City or go elsewhere?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It helps the US IMO. The US did more than fine scoring from the run of play and creating chances over the last two years…against all teams.
    If other teams have to open up a bit more it plays in our strengths, more open space, and minimizes our current weakness. Breaking down bunkers, letting others sit back while our limited possession game makes mistakes for them to counter on.
    Forcing “so called” gifted football teams like Portugal (blah) and forcing the Dutch to play soccer again is a good thing.
    The US, with space is a dangerous team, the US in a controlled chess match, not that great.

  2. I do not think Arteta is going to get called up to England. Alumnia from Arsenal wanted to play for England and Capello said Alumnia is Spanish not English. So I am guessing the same will go for Arteta.

  3. Almost assuredly they’d make every game worth three points, and the loser of penalty kicks or extra time take 1 point, the winner with 2.

  4. Get rid of draws and you’ll see a lot more meaningless games during the third games of group stages. I’d rather have (and ignore if necessary) the occaisional Portugal-Ivory Coast type of game during the first matches than increase the number of meaningless games later on.

    And does anyone know of any evidence that goalden goal matches are more likely to go to penalties? Personally, I prefer golden goal, because as far as I can tell it reduces the chance for penalties. I could be wrong, but that’s how it seems to me.

  5. i guess i’m the only person here that would like to preserve ties due to monetary reasons? You can get good odds on draws in the group stages….bookie hates it, i love it!

  6. i love the group stage draws. it makes for semi-upsets for teams that usually wouldn’t get a win against bigger teams(like new zealand-italy for example)

  7. Yes, you are correct, except the NHL gives 2pts to any winner (NT or OT), 1pt to an OT loser (you don’t even have to make it to shootouts). Altough, there still are some hockey purists who hate OT and would rather have the game end in a draw with both teams gettin 1 pt.

  8. I think it has more to do with weaker teams realizing their best chance to get a result comes playing bunker and counter. Especially so when everyone around the world(including Brazil for many years)looks at results more than style points.

    Not that top teams like Brazil don’t have their jogo bonito moments, just that conservative play limits what can go wrong.

  9. doesn’t NHL give a pt to team who loses on a shootout? maybe do something like that; give 3pts for normal/extra time wins and 2pts to a penalty kick winner and still give 1pt to penalty kick loser.

  10. I would like to see the teams tied at regulation each get a point and then they play golden goal or penalties and the winning team gets another point.

  11. Blatter is just avoiding the technology debate. Again. I think that issue is far more important than doing away with ties…Seriously…

  12. Love the fact that FIFA is trying to make the group stages more attarctive and people dont want to. They just want goal line technology.

    If FIFA can give me more attractive group stages games and goal line technology, then so be it. If they only give me better games. Then I am still ok with it.

  13. Why not just make it that o-o ties count as a loss. That way both teams know they have to score at least 1 goal to get a point.

    I don’t see how two teams that can’t score a goal each deserve a point anyway.

  14. As long as they don’t make the Golden Goal worth double like they did in the 1994 Caribbean Cup. Fortunately, if Warner has any ability to learn from his mistakes that will never happen again.

  15. What on earth is Blatter thinking?! That is a terrible idea! The current group stage system is not the problem…it’s lack of goal-line technology.

  16. Amen sir. That was perhaps the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. WTF were they thinking. If I’m the manager, neither of the two who played that short corner ever play for me again…that is, unless the coach told them to do it.

  17. I have never seen as bad a game as Portugal – Ivory Coast.

    I will never forgive IC for refusing to take a corner in extra time. They are dead to me.

  18. I think it is just a fact that as teams get better around the world, the top 32 teams are going to be more level, and that is why goals scored per game has been going down in past WCs

    I think 1990 had a low goal total and it seems like that was a more level world cup in terms of quality (maybe not USA 😉

  19. Eliminating draws in the group stage is really dumb for two reasons:

    1. It *benefits* defensive teams. Instead of parking the bus and playing for a point, they can park the bus and play for a 50/50 shot at 3 points.

    2. Getting rid of draws will lead to lots of 3-way ties at the end of the group stage (3-0, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 or 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 0-3). Not what you want when the top two out of four teams advance.

  20. There is just no way of making weaker teams not play defensive.

    If you make it golden goal, they just play the defend/counter attack for an extra 30 mins.

    If you do PKs, now the defensive team has a chance to take 3 points from a team they’d be lucky to get a draw from.

    Perhaps a better way to do it is instead of Goal Differential first, make Goals scored the first tie breaker.

    If you make it a one game and out thing then teams are probably going to be scared to risk as much.

    Perhaps they should make it so that the first game of the group is always the highest ranked team versus the lowest ranked team, meaning they are going to be out to get points in that first game.

    Who knows.

    FIFA talks a lot but don’t do much it seems.

  21. Exactly! Hey Sepp, it wasn’t draws that ruined chunks of the World Cup for people. I’m surprised that he isn’t requiring officials to where crazy kaleidoscope glasses, where at least they’d have an excuse for blowing hugely obvious calls. In fact, without draws, I don’t know if New Zealand would have got points against Italy, which I have to admit, was one of the highlights of the tournament for me.

  22. USA scored 4 goals, should have been 6. I mean offense wasn’t usually the problem, had several nice chances to make it more includings Dempsey’s post hit, Altidore’s post hit, Feilhabers chance, etc.

    With the ridiculous number of U-20 players who are on the radar of becoming quality players (2-3 will hopefully emerge out of the 20-30 total prospects), hopefully we can continue to build on our offense.

    Lets hope Lichaj, Gabe A, Opara, etc can develop into a rock solid defense so our midfield doesn’t have to over compensate for the defense.

    It was annoying to see Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley, Edu, Feilhaber carry so much extra because the offensive and defensive lines just weren’t up to snuff. Imagine how they would have done with a back and front line as good as them? (not that Cherundelo/Bornstein did awful or Altidore was completely worthless, but you know what I mean)

  23. I love the idea of doing away with draws in the group stage. I’m just not sure whether golden goal or penalties after extra time is the best approach.
    On one hand, extra time seems fine, but crappy teams would bunker down even more, content to play for essentially a 50-50 chance on penalties (not to mention the impact it would have on player fatigue in other games).
    Based on that, I think I like the Golden Goal approach best.

  24. I think you’re ignoring the 4 or 5 completely boring games that spawned those draws. I’ll take exciting games over one or two last day heroics.

  25. If you look at all the early draws from a different perspective it actually makes the tournament more exciting. Think of all the groups that came down to the last game day. The day when the games are played simultaneously with tournament survival on the line is one of my favorite aspects of the WC. If the ties are taken out of the group stages many of the teams will already be qualified for/eliminated from the next round by the time that 3rd game rolls around – thereby removing a lot of entertaining drama.

    Let the draws remain. Save the PKs for later rounds. Golden goal…I’ll pass totally.

  26. Politics or not, this is a brilliant move in my opinion.

    Get rid of the ability to play for a draw, and teams like Portugal don’t make it past the group stages.

    Unfortunately this means that the United States is probably going nowhere either, but a lot can happen in 4 years.

  27. Blatter is trying to change the subject again. Focus on your commitments to help referees do their job. Blatter always makes some radical suggestion, then backpedals over time until finally nothing is done. It’s no wonder he makes such a successful political head of FIFA.


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