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Soccer Body Seeks Changes on Substitution, Player-Sanction Rules

May 10 (Bloomberg) -- Soccer rulemakers will consider a proposal that would allow a fourth substitution in extra time in games, among measures put forward by a group trying to improve the sport.

Other suggestions made by the FIFA Task Force Football 2014 include looking at aspects of the offside law, and making a “triple” punishment -- penalty kick, red card and suspension - - possible only in cases of serious foul play and when denying a scoring opportunity.

The group proposed that simple fouls and holding an opponent in the penalty area should instead be punished by a penalty and a yellow card, ruling body FIFA said in a statement. The proposal will be put to the International Football Association Board, which regulates the game.

The task force is one of the core planks of Sepp Blatter’s bid to secure a fourth term as FIFA president. He set up the group after last year’s World Cup in South Africa. The tournament attracted criticism as not matching the level of performances seen in top European leagues and competitions such as the Champions League.

The plan for a fourth substitution, in contrast to the current maximum of three, would be particularly aimed at youth competitions.

There was also “general agreement” on the need to professionalize refereeing, FIFA said.

The task force suggested that for FIFA Under-17 competitions and below, there should be no extra time if the score is tied in regulation time. Instead the teams would go straight to a penalty shootout.

Beckenbauer Ill

The task force was slated to include 22 members, made up of former players and administrators. World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer, the man heading the body, didn’t show up for its first meeting in Zurich today.

Brazil’s Pele and England’s Bobby Charlton, two other leading figures in the sport, also didn’t appear. Germany’s Beckenbauer was unwell, governing body FIFA said. It wasn’t able to say why three-time World Cup winner Pele and 1966 champion Charlton were absent.

Beckenbauer will report on the proposals at the 61st FIFA Congress in Zurich on June 1. On the same day, soccer’s 208 nations will vote whether to retain Blatter or select his rival Mohamed Bin Hammam.

To contact the reporters on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net; Tariq Panja in Zurich at at tpanja@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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