FIFA may abolish extra time at World Cup

Thu Sep 9, 2010 6:43am EDT
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By Brian Homewood

BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA may abolish extra time at the World Cup with drawn knockout matches going straight to penalties, the federation's president Sepp Blatter said Thursday.

Blatter said in an interview with FIFA's web site ( that too many teams had played defensively at the World Cup in South Africa and soccer's governing body would look at ways of encouraging more attacking tactics.

"We plan to take the opportunity to look at the concept of extra time," said Blatter, whose remarks differed slightly from an interview he gave to the German magazine Focus last month when he said penalty shootouts could even be used after drawn group matches.

"Often we see teams set themselves up even more defensively in extra time, in an attempt to avoid conceding a goal at all costs.

"To prevent this, we could go directly to a penalty shootout at full time, or reintroduce the golden goal rule. We'll see what emerges from the committee meetings."

Blatter did not discuss penalty shootouts themselves, which many feel are a lottery and devalue the sport, leaving a lasting stigma on the player who misses the decisive kick.

FIFA has so far declined to consider alternatives to shootouts, such as using the corner count to decide drawn matches and reducing the number of players on the field in extra time to open up the game.

GOLDEN GOAL   Continued...