FIFA President Supports Three Yellow Card Rule for World Cup

FIFA president Sepp Blatter supports a new booking system that would allow players to receive three yellow cards in a round at the World Cup before they're suspended for a match.

With record numbers of red and yellow cards handed out at this World Cup, Blatter said Tuesday it was a "very wise suggestion" to amend the existing rules that impose a one-match suspension on players who pick up two cautions across the first round or two in the knockout stage.

Two cautions in a match earns an automatic ejection and a one-match ban. Two cautions across three matches in the first round, or two in the whole knockout round, result in a one-match suspension.

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"In some leagues, the suspension comes after three, four or five cautions — in the World Cup, we should go further," Blatter said. "In the future there should perhaps be three yellow cards in a round before a suspension, and this is something we will take up.

"This would avoid players in the semifinals on one yellow card who, by bad luck, may get a second and cannot play in the final."

That happened to Germany midfielder Michael Ballack at the 2002 World Cup.

A tournament record 27 red cards and 331 yellows had been issued after 60 of the 64 matches at Germany 2006.

Referees have come under heavy criticism for issuing cautions too early for minor fouls.

There have been calls to have the regulations lifted to three cautions in a match before the automatic red card, although Blatter did not support that.

English referee Graham Poll controversially issued a Croatia player three yellow cards in the first-round match against Australia that ended 2-2. If Croatia had won and Australia protested the result, it would have forced an unprecedented replay of the match at the World Cup.

Addressing simulation was another issue, said Blatter, who condemned players who fake injuries and call for treatment to stymie attacking opportunities for rival teams.

"It is just cheating and we must look at this in the future ... I do not like it," he said.

It's an unwritten convention that the ball is kicked out of bounds when a player is down receiving treatment on the pitch.

"This is abusing the system. Players are just lying down and inviting the other team to kick the ball out," Blatter said.

And despite outrage in Britain, where some quarters have accused Cristiano Ronaldo of influencing Horacio Elizondo's decision to send off Wayne Rooney in Portugal's quarterfinal win over England, Blatter backed the Argentine referee.

Rooney got a red card for stomping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho. Rooney shoved Portugal forward Ronaldo — his teammate at Manchester United — who later winked toward his team's dugout when the red card was awarded.

"The referee was touching distance from the players and he took the decision according to what he witnessed," Blatter said. "I have no comment to make on the behavior of Ronaldo. I have not seen any wrongdoing that has not been sanctioned by the referee."

Blatter noted a general trend of players appealing too much to referees to book rivals, saying it was something he hoped to crack down on at the next major tournament.

"I agree that at this World Cup there has been an exuberance of players going towards the referee inviting him to show cards," he said. "This is a tendency I did not see at the beginning, but have seen in the decisive matches."

FIFA will experiment with goal-line technology again at next year's under-20 world championships in Canada. A microchip ball was trialed at the under-17 world championship in Peru last year, but FIFA said the system was not 100 percent accurate in proving when the ball crossed the goalline to implement at the World Cup.

Blatter also confirmed Brazil was the most likely host of the 2014 World Cup, but still needs to prove it could build the stadiums and infrastructure need to host the tournament.

South America was next under FIFA's rotation policy and Brazil was the only candidate so far.

"Only if they fulfill all specifications for hosting a World Cup will the FIFA executive take the corresponding decision," Blatter said.

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