If FIFA has its way, footballers will see red cards less often. A FIFA panel suggested that referees be more indulgent towards football players who commit fouls in the penalty box.
A special FIFA Task Force, including representatives of FIFA, leagues, national federations and football players, with German coach and former player Franz Beckenbauer at the helm decided that showing a red card, awarding the penalty and giving suspension for a foul in the penalty area is too harsh.
This does not mean that red cards would be cancelled. Footballers would still get sent off for deliberate handball that denies certain goals.
Head of FIFA Refereeing Development Massimo Busacca said that if this decision was taken a year ago during the 2010 World Cup, he would not have to show a red card to South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in the game between South Africa and Uruguay. The goalkeeper tripped Uruguay striker Luis Suárez and though the contact was slight, South Africa were left without their goalkeeper.
As a result of this sending off, South Africa were defeated 3-0 and Khune had to miss the final group-stage game against France.
The panel will present the final draft of the law to its rules-making committee in March. If approved, the changes will take effect in mid-summer.
The next matter that the FIFA Task Force will discuss in December will be the offside rule.