European soccer coaches discuss rule changes

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Europe's top coaches said on Friday that it was unfair to send off a player while awarding a penalty kick for the same tackle.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Sending off a player who commits a professional foul in the area while awarding a penalty kick for the same challenge was a double punishment and unfair, European soccer's top coaches said on Friday. "Even some managers who benefited from situations where they had someone sent off or the rule went their way, they were still questioning whether it was a good rule or not," Lyon coach Gerard Houllier said. In such situations, Houllier said, "Maybe you could call for more common sense on the part of the referee." UEFA's technical director, Andy Roxburgh, said the idea behind the existing rule was "the goal-scoring chance has been denied but you get it back again by getting the penalty." He added: "If the tackle is not violent, (the coaches) think the referee should have the option of giving the yellow card." Houllier, Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson, Real Madrid's Fabio Capello and Italy's now-retired World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi met in Geneva to exchange ideas with UEFA, European soccer's governing body. The meeting also heard calls for referees to crack down on time-wasting and shirt-pulling, and greater clarity for the sport's complicated offside rule that can confuse players. Houllier, a UEFA Cup winner in 2001 with Liverpool, said many of the coaches thought the rules needed to be clearer. (AP)