Referee: FIFA should relax triple-punishment for fouls in the area
Referees are generally in favour of relaxing the triple punishment of red card, penalty and suspension for offences in the penalty area, a German match official said in an interview published on Friday, DPA reported.
German referee Knut Kircher told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily that the issue has already been discussed at UEFA-level referee events and has been brought before the ruling body FIFA.
The issue arose again at the World Cup on Wednesday when South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune brought down Luis Suarez of Uruguay. Khune was sent off and is banned for the last group game against France. Diego Forlan converted the penalty in Uruguay's 3-0 victory.
"A red card and a penalty are quite harsh sanctions. It would be useful, also for the climate on the pitch, to say: the scoring chance is still there, so a yellow card is sufficient," Kircher said.
"If a scoring chance in the area is prevented it is still there by virtue of the penalty. As referees we would say that a player or goalkeeper is punished sufficiently with a yellow card in such cases - as long as it is a normal act of foul play."
Kircher said referees have been discussing the issue for a long time and that German Bundesliga match officials can interpret the FIFA rules in a slightly more relaxed way when the goalkeeper dives for the ball in the area and touches the opponent.
"There we say, ok, he tried to reach the ball, we will let him go with a yellow card," Kircher said.
Kircher also said the outcome of the penalty is important for the suspension duration under the current FIFA rules.
"The referee has to mention the outcome of the penalty in his match report; it has considerable influence on the duration of the sanction," he said.
"If the South African reserve goalkeeper had saved the ball, the dismissed goalkeeper would have probably been suspended for two games because in that case a scoring chance would have been prevented."