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

Blatter (Reuters Pictures)


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:


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.


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.


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 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.


  1. I’d like to see post game cards for diving. If you dive and a card is given, you get the same as we know they won’t take it back. If you dive and a PK is given you get a red and get to sit. There needs to be punishment for this. Too many times you see some get clipped and they act like they got shot, hold their face when they get bumped in the chest. It’s a disgrace and needs to be eliminated.

  2. love the extra sub idea. and of course goal line technology and a 5th ref.

    and i really love the ideas above about having to be stretchered off the field.

  3. I like this idea partially. Still, I would rather have the 4th sub available during the actual run of play in case of injuries.

    I don’t think a single substitute will waste a significant portion of 30+ extra minutes.

  4. Because of the single entity player rights are owned by MLS and not the individual teams. In fifa’s eyes Dero only played for 1 team last year

  5. I believe that every goal scoring opportunity (a goal or a goal that is called back due to an infraction) should be reviewed.

    Every goal can be quickly reviewed by a dedicated video referee. Heck, every person watching a TV can do it with the replay.

    This does not stop the run of play b/c the run of play is already stopped.

  6. John Terry and Chelsea seem to be getting a much better deal than Suarez and Liverpool. Why hasn’t Terry been suspended for eight games as well? The criminal prosecution should be independent of the FA’s actions.

  7. I think each game should have 4 subs + 1. It should be 4 substitutes are allowed for the full 90. If the game goes into overtime 1 more sub should be allowed. I also think each goal should be automatically reviewed. Similar to how they do in the NFL except have one referee dedicated to watching the video review and then relaying that information down to the official. Another thing that can be borrowed from the NFL is a challenge rule. The coach should be allowed to challenge any goal that is scored or any red card. As collateral the coach will give up two substitutions. He he is right he gets to keep his subs. If he is wrong he has to forfeit his two subs. They should also add to refs behind the goal to help check for handballs and penalties. The goal line technology is way over due.

  8. My idea is if a player is hurt let the ref stop play at his discretion and the player cannot return for 5 mins. If the player has to be stretchered off than he should not be allowed to return as he was obviously in to much pain to walk in the first place

  9. They should implement an extra sub for all matches. Three during the run of play and one sub to be used either at half time or the end of full time. I also like the five minute rule suggested above for players stretchered off, but I would like to see it for all ‘injured” players causing the run of play to stop. The other thing I think would be interesting is a delayed call like in hockey. Let the ref call advantage and let the play continue until the other team gets possession. Then award a free kick to the attacking side. I’m interested to see other opinions on this last one.

  10. I am all for any rule changes that eliminate or minimize faking. It would be great to have a minimum time off the field for any player that needs to have the game stopped.

    I would also get rid of the FIFA Fair Play initiative that came in around 1994 where you send the ball off as courtesy to a player/team that has a man down. This just encourages more simulation. Do like rugby or hockey and stop the game with the next whistle. If the player is seriously hurt, potentially life threatening, then let the referee use their discretion.

    Faking, whining, intimidation, simulation are damaging the integrity of the game.

  11. I love the penalty box idea. It should count as a red for discipline accumulation, but not overly affecting the outcome of the present game.

    I think it should also accompany a mandatory injury wait time. If you’re truly injured (i.e., requiring physio attention) then you need *at least* 5 game minutes on the sidelines to make sure you are healthy enough to return.

    Suck it up & play, or get off the field for evaluation. None of this playing at full speed after you’ve taken a breather for 120 sec.

  12. Yah, when are they going to have to face up to his complete lack of class? I love the commentators and coaches who praise him for performing well after a scandal. Way to ignore the opinions of all the ethical people in your community and keep on being a jerk! Score one for the sociopaths!

  13. While I don’t want to see this enacted, it reminds me of the way my youth and high school games were officiated. If you got a yellow, you had to be subbed out. Granted, your team wasn’t down a man, but you had to cool off on the bench until your coach put you back in.

  14. “If your team surrounds the ref…yellow card for your captain”

    Just give Puyol a yellow before the whistle in every clasico then…

  15. I love this idea, it would cut down on a lot of the acting and time wasting tactics.

    I’d add that refs need this rule to be reitterated upon as well, when’s the last time you watched someone get carted off, return to the field and NOT get a yellow card for it?

  16. hear hear. I love these ideas, especially the carding of the goalie (I’d actually start there and not stop until he gets a sent off.. ) ref intimidation has gotten out of hand.

    and additionally the 4th sub extra official sets the stage for my amazing idea of using video review on calls/non-calls that result in a goal, spot kick or straight red card.

    Teams sacrifice a sub in exchange for a 5th official review. Having that 4th sub to burn will be helpful. Keeps the flow of the game as close to it’s current state as possible and keeps challenges to a minimum.

    The cynic in me of course thinks this will be just another way to burn the clock at the end of a match.

  17. LOVE the card suggestions. The whining in the game at the highest (and most visible) needs to stop, and this would be a great way to cut a lot of it out.

  18. I’d love to see a penalty box system trialed, for those fouls when a ref doesn’t want to give a 2nd yellow. Since most of these fouls would be committed by defenders, it would give the other team a real advantage. Also, when a ref suspects diving, a penalty box would be a more impactful punishment.

    Not saying it’s the solution to world peace, but could be interesting, in addition to the existing yellow/red card rules.

  19. Speaking of FIFA rules and apropos of the transfer deadline…can anyone explain to me what happened with DeRo last year? How was he allowed to play for 3 teams in league matches in the same season? Does MLS play by its own rules?

  20. It’s always the ‘looking into it’ rhetoric. I see a fourth sub used mainly by winning teams to waste time.

    If you’re going to institute the 4th sub let the managers use em’ whenever. Employing adjustments and counter strategies throughout the game = more variety.

  21. that has always been my thought, no player should be allowed to enter the game the second they get off the field, when they act as if they just got hit by a truck

  22. 4th sub….Big friggen deal.

    Goal-line technology…it is 2012…this one should have been done years ago.

    5 refs? That just gives Mourinho, Ramos, Pique, Puyol, Xavi, Ronaldo and Alonso a few more guys to yell at, surround and harass.

    How about these changes….if you sprint 30 yards to yell at the ref….yellow card. If your team surrounds the ref…yellow card for your captain…if your original captain is sent off…then your goalie is next in line.

    Anyone who gets fouled and makes the hand gesture for a card….yellow card.

    Oh…and fire and then prosecute the corrupt bastards at FIFA, UEFA and anywhere else these guys launder, cheat and steal from us the fans, exploit the players and make a mockery of the game we support.

  23. Definitely like the 4th extra-time sub idea. Not only could it cut down on injuries, it’ll also probably cut down on games being decided by the penalties crapshoot.

  24. For the safety of the players, next year FIFA should look into anyone being stretchered off should have to be examined by the training staff and not allowed to return to play for 5 minutes. “Injuries” should not be taken lightly.

  25. The fourth substitute would be a welcomed addition to the players, I imagine.

    The amount of fixtures the top level players are involved is a bit alarming.

    Additionally, this would actually increase the value of fringe Starting XI players as they would be used more, ergo, more valuable as a result.

    THAT SAID: I really hope this isn’t being instituted to off-set the ridiculous heat the players will face in Qatar, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of several measures FIFA suddenly considers.


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