The footballing world has been reacting to the decision by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to abolish the golden goal as a means of deciding tied games. Teams that have benefited from the rule as well as those who have been on the receiving end have spoken out about the change back. Read on as FIFA.com brings you the reactions to the end of sudden death and the return of extra-time and penalties.
At its meeting last Saturday (28 February 2004), the IFAB, who are responsible for the rules of the game, agreed to re-establish the extra-time-and-penalties format as the sole method of deciding deadlocked matches.
Speaking after the meeting, David Taylor, general secretary of the Scottish Football Association and a member of the IFAB said: “The important thing was to have clarity and to have a single method to determine the outcome of a match. The question was, where would we draw the line? Would there later be a bronze goal and then something else?”
Taylor added that FIFA, football’s world governing body, had consulted national associations worldwide and that it was clear that the favoured method was a return to extra-time and penalty kicks, when a game was tied.
No team has benefited more from the golden goal than the French. In the ten years that it has been in force, Les Bleus have scored golden goals on no less than four occasions in international competition. Despite his country’s historic debt to the golden goal, Raymond Doménech, the national U-23 coach, expressed his approval of the change in the French daily Libération.
The paper lead with the headline: “FIFA abolishes controversial ruling that twice helped the French,” while inside Doménech went on to say: “I’m very pleased with the decision. The first time I saw a golden goal was in Montpellier in 1994, during the U-21 European Championship match between Italy and Portugal. I felt so bad for Figo and his team-mates at the end. After the golden goal it was ages before the Italians realised that they had won. It did the sport an injustice.”
In Italy, football fans still lament David Trezeguet’s golden goal for France in the Final of UEFA EURO 2000 and Korean Ahn Jung Hwan’s ‘golden header’ which knocked them out of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. While the IFAB ruling has been widely applauded in Italy, these series of disappointments would explain the angry sentiment that is still felt there. The Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport said “this climb down by the IFAB has come four years too late.” “Unfortunately for Italy this new ruling cannot be applied retrospectively,” the article lamented, describing the golden goal as “damned” and “a jinx” for their recent international aspirations.
lsewhere, the Italian broadsheet Corriere della Sera, carried the headline: “FIFA has ruled: extra-time is back,” while its readers came out strongly in favour of the change. In an open survey on the paper’s website, almost 85% of readers supported the decision, close to 8% favoured its retention while just over 7% voted for the adoption of the silver goal.
For Spanish coach, Iñaki Sáez, the decision was the correct one, given that the previous situation was somewhat “confusing”. Talking to FIFA.com, Sáez argued that “there should be a predefined amount of time, that is the same for both teams. [to break the deadlock] If extra-time is scheduled to be 30 minutes, then 30 minutes should be played.”
The Bayern Munich coach, Otto Hitzfield, shared Sáez’s sentiments: “I’ve never been a fan of the golden goal. When extra-time arrives, you have 30 minutes to win it: the golden goal hasn’t always been fair. One shot and it’s all over. Scrapping it was a good idea.” The club’s president, Franz Beckenbauer, was thrilled with the decision claiming to have always been “against the golden goal”.
The amendment of Rule 10 has not been widely commented on in the British press, with next to no space being dedicated to the IFAB’s decisions. Meanwhile in Switzerland the national daily Le Progres had a play-on-words in its unusual headline: “whistle blows on golden goal”.
The Asian press also commented on the changes made last weekend by the IFAB, with the China Sports Daily being the most critical of the now defunct rule saying: “The golden goal, initially intended to enhance the spectacle and encourage teams to go all out in extra-time, has now been abolished by FIFA after years of inefficiency and negative consequences.”
In Honduras, the La Prensa newspaper carried the comments of the country’s football league president, Mario Prieto, who affirmed: “this is a good decision because it gives the team that is scored against a certain amount of time to throw caution to the wind and turn things around.” Approval for the IFAB modification was expressed with the news headline: “End of golden goal applauded”. Meanwhile, the Chilean national TV channel TVN, lamented the passing into history of the famous footballing phrase: “Whoever scores first, wins.”
“Sudden death for the golden goal”, ran the headline in the Argentine daily Diario Olé , claiming it would be remembered for the Oliver Bierhoff goal which gave Germany a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the Final of UEFA EURO 1996. It went on to add: “the end is nigh for the unsuccessful golden goal, just as Portugal 2006 is approaching. Will it be missed?”The answer would appear to be: not a lot - if the opinions of football professionals are anything to go by!