. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soccer Boss Criticized for Suggesting Larger Goals

COMBINED REPORTS


HAMBURG, Germany -- World soccer's governing body, FIFA, is ready to enlarge the size of goals in an effort to make the game more attractive, according to general-secretary Sepp Blatter.


"The guardians of the rules are in agreement to lengthen the goals by the diameter of two balls, around 50 centimeters, and to increase the height by the diameter of one ball," Blatter told the German magazine Stern in an interview released Tuesday.


However, the German soccer federation (DFB) immediately argued against the proposal.


"We see no chance to realistically do this,'' said DFB spokesman Wolfsgang Niersbach. " Alone in Germany there are about 100,000 soccer fields and each goal costs 1,000 marks [$700]. There is a question of who finances this.''


Blatter said FIFA's international board would reach a formal decision in March, which would be followed by a test period.


But Blatter vowed the changes would not be introduced for the 1998 World Cup in France. "We will play the 1998 World Cup with the current rules," he said in the interview, released ahead of publication Thursday.


But the future of basketball-style time-outs, an innovation already being tested, looks uncertain.


"Footballers are so conservative," Blatter said. "So the mood in favor of time-outs is currently under 50 percent. The matter is not quite finished with but the trend is negative."


Blatter denied FIFA saw the time-outs as a way of introducing more time for television advertising into a match, a problem in selling the sport in America.


"The idea came from the trainers. They complained they had too little say, sitting on the bench."


Blatter said the 1998 World Cup would be marked by one change, however. "We will certainly have better trained, younger, faster and fitter referees," he promised. ()