Beckenbauer suggests law change

2011-10-18 15:40

Frankfurt - German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer wants FIFA's task force to tackle the offside law and make it simpler for referees to interpret after a weekend of quirky decisions from German match officials.

Beckenbauer is chairman of the FIFA panel that suggests law changes to the board of the world governing body of soccer. The panel meets next week.

"I've put it on the agenda," Beckenbauer told Tuesday's edition of Bild newspaper. "All members of the commission should think about it, so that we can discuss it."

"Offside has become too complicated. We don't have to go back to the stone age of football but to return to a simpler interpretation. The referee should, for example, disallow a goal only when the goalkeeper is clearly hindered by the offside player," Beckenbauer said.

The offside rule, Law 11 of FIFA's Laws of the Game, states that offside must be penalised for "interfering with an opponent," when a player deliberately obstructs a goalkeeper's line of vision or movement or distracts him.

The law also says that "interfering with play," another reason offside must be given, means a player in an offside position actually touches the ball.

In Germany, assistant referees flagged for offside when the offside law had not been broken.

The interpretation of the offside law on whether a player in an offside position should be penalised or not led to several contested decisions over the weekend in the Bundesliga.

Referees disallowed goals for Hannover in a loss to Cologne and for Mainz in a defeat to Augsburg, prompting a debate in the media.

Beckenbauer also proposed doing away with a red card for a player denying an obvious scoring opportunity in the penalty area.

"If it's a harmless foul, a penalty and a yellow card are enough. Red only for brutal attacks. The referee should have some freedom of choice," Beckenbauer said.

FIFA rules stipulate that a red card is mandatory only in case the player brought down is heading toward the goal.