FIFA exec: Offside rule needs revamp

Updated: October 18, 2011, 10:41 AM ET
Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Franz Beckenbauer wants FIFA's task force to reconsider the offside rule and make it simpler for referees to interpret after a weekend of controversial decisions by German match officials.

Beckenbauer is chairman of the FIFA panel that suggests rule changes to the board of the world governing body of soccer. The panel meets next week.

"I've put it on the agenda," Beckenbauer told Tuesday's edition of Bild newspaper. "All members of the commission should think about it, so that we can discuss it."

The interpretation of the offside rule on whether a player in an offside position should be penalized or not led to several contested decisions over the weekend in the Bundesliga.

"Offside has become too complicated," Beckenbauer said. "We don't have to go back to the stone age of football but to return to a simpler interpretation. The referee should, for example, disallow a goal only when the goalkeeper is clearly hindered by the offside player."

The offside rule states that offside must be penalized for "interfering with an opponent," when a player deliberately obstructs a goalkeeper's line of vision or movement or distracts him.

The law also says that "interfering with play," another reason offside must be given, means a player in an offside position actually touches the ball.

In Germany, assistant referees flagged for offside when the offside law had not been broken. Referees disallowed goals for Hannover in a loss to Cologne and for Mainz in a defeat to Augsburg, prompting a debate in the media.

Beckenbauer also proposed doing away with a red card for a player denying an obvious scoring opportunity in the penalty area.

"If it's a harmless foul, a penalty and a yellow card are enough," Beckenbauer said. "Red only for brutal attacks. The referee should have some freedom of choice."

FIFA rules stipulate that a red card is mandatory only in cases where the player brought down is heading toward the goal.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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