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FIFA May Scrap Penalties for 2010 WC Final

  • Reuters UK, Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:46 PM
In the past, FIFA, soccer's world governing body, has never been shy about changing the rules of the game, its qualifying procedures, or even the manner in which games are decided. President Sepp Blatter admits that he's never been a fan of ending crucial matches like the World Cup final with penalty kicks. Even though Italy's victory over France on penalties this year made up for its 1994 defeat by Brazil in a shootout, Blatter called the manner of its deciding "a tragedy." He said a replay or gradually deducting players in extra time would be better solutions. But FIFA will take its time. "We have four years or so, so I think we have time," Blatter told Reuters. FIFA had a similar thought 12 years ago after the 1994 World Cup was decided on penalties. It decided to implement a "golden goal" rule, where the first team to score in extra time would win the game. The idea was to cut back on the number of games that ended in penalties by giving teams an added incentive to score in extra time. It lasted for two World Cups until teams complained it was unfair to end a match without giving the other team time to respond to a goal. Then, of course, came the "silver goal" in which a team that conceded in extra time had until the end of the first period to respond or the game would be over. That only lasted until Euro 2004, and then FIFA went back to its old extra time system of two 15-minute halves followed by penalties. Nevertheless, FIFA will continue to tinker with its tournament format, even though it likely won't be satisfied with whatever decision makes.

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