KEIR RADNEDGE in Budapest: Franz Beckenbauer did not say it in so many words, but his FIFA task force – launched amid great fanfare – to sharpen up the quality of World Cup finals football has been waste of time, effort and money thus far.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had famously described the quality of football on view in South Africa in 2010 as akin to “a visit to the dentist”. FIFA president Sepp Blatter had responded to this and other criticism by creating the Task Force Football 2014.
Beckenbauer, who stepped down from the FIFA executive committee last year after just one four-year term, was appointed chairman with Pele as vice-chairman. In fact Pele has not yet attended a meeting and, as Beckenbauer reported, nothing the committee had discussed had come to pass.
FIFA Congress was told by Beckenbauer that the panel’s original propopsal to revise the so-called triple sanction – “which is rather irritating for all of us” – had been returned for further review by the law-making International Football Association Board.
He added: “We looked at allowing into an additional substitute in extra time. This idea didn’t come from us so much but from the medical people. We said: ‘OK why not?’ but IFAB rejected that and they are the custodions of the holy grail of football so its up to them.”
Having failed to make any progress on these two items, Beckenbauer and Co tackled the far more complex issue of the wording of the offside law and its interpretations.
Beckenbauer said: “We believe that one has to tke another look at it and discuss it because it is too complicated in our view – with passive offisde and active offside and the various interpretations: for example a referee from Spain interprets something differently to a referee from Iceland – so iot’s a matter of coming up with a coherent intepretation.”
Here Beckenbauer was merely echoeing the comments of football leaders and lawmakers down the years.
He concluded by saying: “These are the things we’ve been kicking around and I’d like to thank FIFA for having the opportunity to speak on behalf of such a high-ranking comittee. It’s been a load of fun to be able to work with them. It’s a great job for us to do.”
A pity nothing has been achieved.
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