“The FIFA Task Force Football 2014 plays an integral role in our programme of good governance, transparency and zero tolerance towards wrongdoing on and also off the pitch, which we presented last Friday. Franz Beckenbauer and his team of some of the best football experts in the world have an important task to achieve over the next years so as to ensure that football is at its best at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and refereeing is definitely one of the key areas there,” explained FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter at the opening of the meeting.
“In 1990, the first task force led to key decisions that improved the game significantly, such as the backpass rule. Our mission is to be a committee that makes decisive proposals that will be implemented. That was the promise we received from the FIFA President,” said Franz Beckenbauer. The task force’s objective is to develop and look at concrete proposals to improve both the attractiveness of football and match control in elite competitions, in areas such as the Laws of the Game, refereeing, competition regulations, women’s football, medical matters and fair play.
Deputy chairman Pelé was unable to attend due to his other commitments, which include the role of special advisor to the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, on 2014 FIFA World Cup™ matters. However, he re-confirmed his commitment to be part of this task force. Also excused were FA General Secretary Alex Horne and US Soccer President Sunil Gulati. Ioan Lupescu, who recently joined UEFA as a permanent staff member, will no longer be eligible as a member of this working group.
Some of today’s key discussion points of the FIFA Task Force Football 2014 were as follows:
· Fair play. Over the last few months, unsporting behaviour has led to many negative incidents both on and off the pitch. As such, the task force believes it is crucial that a concrete action plan be developed for the next meeting, in particular related to the conduct of players, coaches and officials who must be role models for the fans and the general public.
· Law 4, communication systems: The task force discussed the use of communication technology tools on the benches and agreed with the decision of the IFAB that no communication tools should be used once in the playing field area.
· Refereeing concerning Law 12: The task force again tackled the topic of triple punishment, with the members agreeing that only in the event of serious fouls with physical violence should a triple punishment be imposed with a penalty, a red card and a suspension. The group also agreed that the red card and penalty punishment will remain for any outfield player who stops a goal on the goal line by using his hand, whereas any other simple fouls in the penalty area should only be sanctioned with a penalty and a yellow card. The same punishment is proposed for a goalkeeper who tries to catch the ball but tackles the legs of a player. The aim is make it easier for referees to ensure uniform and fairer decisions. A revised text of the Laws will now be drafted to reflect the above decisions and then re-submitted as a proposal to the IFAB in March.
· Law 11, offside: The group further discussed the interpretation of Law 11 regarding active and passive offside. The chairman asked the task force members to come up with suggestions for a clear, understandable rule by the time of the group’s next meeting.
Other agenda points included the unification of competition regulations across the confederations, a review of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ and its positive influence on the further development of women’s football, beach soccer regulations and medical matters.