Football: Ifab rejects Uefa request to change triple punishment

ZURICH (REUTERS) - A request from Uefa to change the so-called triple punishment rule has been rejected by football's law-making body, while a proposal to study the use of video technology also got short shrift.

The International Football Association Board (Ifab) said on Saturday that it was concerned that changing the controversial rule would re-open the door for goalkeepers to commit cynical fouls to prevent clear scoring opportunities.

"We don't want to flip back to where we were before where some goalkeepers knew that if they could not be sent off, they would simply take out the attacker," board member Stewart Regan told reporters.

The so-called triple punishment happens when a defender or goalkeeper denies an opposing forward a clear scoring opportunity in the penalty area.

The defender is sent off, concedes a penalty and also has to serve an automatic one-match suspension.

Critics say that it can completely kill a game. Supporters say it prevents more cynical fouling taking place than already exists.

Manchester City were on the wrong end of such a decision in their Champions League tie at home to Barcelona as were Arsenal against Bayern Munich.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said Uefa had written to the board asking for the rule to be changed.

"Again, there was a lot of discussion and it was not approved," he said, adding that Ifab would instead send the matter to its two specialist panels for further debate.

"We know that is something the football community feel really strongly about.

"It will make such an impact on the game of football if it's changed, we have got to get it right," said Regan, the chief executive of the Scottish FA.

"A lot of us felt that taking Uefa's wording would reopen the door for cynical fouls," added Alex Horne, another board member and chief executive of the English FA.

"That is not to say we don't listen, we don't understand. "Maybe we just need to re-educate people about why it was introduced in the first place."

Valcke said that the use of videos to help match officials had been ruled out altogether.

"There is a risk that using the video will change the nature of the game and maybe we will reach the day when the referee will ask one day to stop the game to make sure he has made the right decision," he said.

"The use of video will not be in the game apart from goal-line technology."

The board added that an experiment with so-called sin bins in English amateur football, where players were ordered off the field for 10 minutes instead of being sent off, had produced some interesting results.

"The referees found it possible to manage," said Horne. "It did have an unforeseen impact on the flow of the game and willingness of players to fully commit to tackles. It was not an unqualified success, but was interesting.

"We will ask Uefa to continue thinking about it at that youth level, I suspect Uefa will try different things such as five minutes instead of 10 minutes."

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