Friday Kickoff: Blatter looks to eliminate penalties, Beckham to be honored & more

PKs (Getty Images)

If you are in the group of fans that cannot stand that important matches can come down to a penalty shootout, you are not alone. The president of FIFA has your back.

Sepp Blatter called for an alternative solution to penalty shootouts at the FIFA Congress in Budapest, saying that, ''Football should not go to one to one, because when football goes to penalty kicks, it loses its essence as a team sport.'' 

Blatter charged Franz Breckenbauer, head of the FIFA Football Task Force 2014, to come up with a more viable solution, with the topic being timely after Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League title by edging Bayern Munich on penalties.

Here are a few more stories to kick off your Friday:


Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham won't be suiting up for England when the Three Lions face Belgium on June 2, but he'll be a big part of the festivities at Wembley Stadium.

Beckham will be among those getting honored by the FA at halftime for having at least 100 caps for England. Beckham, who has not played for England since 2009, has 115 caps to his name and remains an ambassador for the country's national team. He'll be joined by the likes of Bobby Charlton and Peter Shilton during the ceremony. The honor won't conflict with any Galaxy matches, as the Galaxy don't have a league match until June 17 after this weekend. The club has a U.S. Open Cup match against the Carolina RailHawks on May 29 and would have a fourth-round match on June 5 should it get by the NASL side. 

Beckham's international soccer days are not completely sealed, as he is still expected to be named to Team Great Britain's Olympic squad when Stuart Pearce narrows down his roster in the coming weeks.


Pep Guardiola will coach his final game for Barcelona on Friday, as he looks to go out with some more silverware in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao. Speaking to reporters, Guardiola left open the possibility for his return to the sideline after he gets some much-needed time off.

"I will be pleased to receive their calls, of course, but for the next months I have to charge my batteries, charge my mind," Guardiola said. "I'm going to rest and then I will wait and, when I will be ready, if one club wants me, if they seduce me, I will train again."


Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy's hopes of representing his country at Euro 2012 have gone up in smoke.

The Canaries goalkeeper broke a finger in training and has been ruled out for the tournament. In his place, Roy Hodgson has tabbed untested 19-year-old Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at League Two club Cheltenham Town. Butland does not have a cap with the senior national team, though he has been a part of the youth set up in England for years.

Butland will be third on England's depth chart behind Joe Hart and Robert Green.


Do you agree with Blatter and think that games should not come down to penalties? What do you make of Beckham being honored in England? Do you see Guardiola ultimately being convinced to coach somewhere in 2012-2013? Are you surprised that England would not turn to a more experienced option to replace Ruddy?

Share your thoughts below.

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71 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Blatter looks to eliminate penalties, Beckham to be honored & more

  1. Yellow Submarine says:

    Is there anything off limits for Blatter ruining?

    Penalty kicks are incredibly captivating. You simply can not replicate the drama.

  2. wooz says:

    Penalty kick shootout is terrible. No way to win or lose. I think finding an alternative is a great idea.

  3. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I’ve always said, penalty kicks are great theater. They may not be the ideal way to end a game, but they are incredibly tense and you cannot have guys play until they drop. 120 minutes of high level play is the maximum you can expect. After that, you have to end it someway

  4. James says:

    Propose removing an entrenched and traditional aspect of the game – without proposing any sort of alternative. In fact, he was even calling on OTHER people to propose alternatives to support his theory.
    Blatter IS a good politician!

  5. BFT says:

    There’s a pretty simple, viable solution to eliminating penalties: it’s called friggin’ sudden death, or golden goal, or whatever you want to call it. Keep playing 15 and 15 until someone scores. Simple. Maybe allow each team one additional extra time substitution. Anything but penalties.

    I never thought I’d ever agree with anything Sepp Blatter says, but despite the “drama” of a penalty shootout, it’s completely artificial and a terrible way to decide a football match. Though I do suppose I’d miss comedy moments like John Terry’s slip…

  6. Dennis says:

    An alternative after the two extra-time periods is to reduce each side by two players every 5 minutes until someone scores or until each side has been reduced to 4 players (3+keeper). The coach would have to supply the order of withdrawal at the beginning of this final period so there could be no time-wasting. It would be fairly soccer-like down to the end, even though it might end up looking more like a youth-team kick and run game trying to free-up a fast forward for a break-away.

  7. Alex says:

    They already have an alternative – it’s called “golden goal.” If need be, give teams more subs the further they progress into OT.

    Sudden death in hockey is one of the greatest edge-of-your-seat experiences in sports. And I’ve sat through soccer matches during golden goal time, and it’s awesome.

  8. elgringorico says:

    lol and the 4 players left on the pitch at the end die of heart attacks.

  9. Matt S says:

    penalty kicks is just a necessity because of the nature of the game. Running for over 120 minutes is enough to drain even the best athlete and there is no guarantee that a goal will come so you can’t rely on the golden goal. If you ask players to do more then that then you have a much higher risk of injury and the quality of play would only get worse and worse.

    This isn’t football (american) or hockey where you can just kick a field goal or expect a goal to come since its so much easier (and the rotation of players keeps them fresher) in hockey. This is the way it has to stay and suggesting to change it with no real suggestion is silly at best.

  10. shane says:

    Beckenbauer played in the NASL and is on record saying he liked the NASL style shootout as a way of resolving draws, Johann Cruyff did too.

  11. downintexas says:

    Considering that in Spain, they have higher rates of heart attacks during penalty kicks than any other time. Might not be a bad thing to change.

    Pure drama, but mostly dumb luck.

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  13. Mike in Missouri says:

    Here’s a great alternative: put the ball down 35 yards from goal and have an attacker run 1-1 with the goalie and whoever scores the most out of 5 wins!

  14. BFBS says:

    How about retain the concept of kicks but from farther out? That way it becomes less about luck and more about skill. To account for the fact that some less skilled teams might be involved, maybe without a wall.

  15. Ryan Nanez says:

    bring back golden goal!!!

  16. THomas says:

    Dance off

  17. BFBS says:

    Too much of an unfair advantage to any team with Clint, sorry

  18. Chuck says:

    8 v. 8 (7 and a keeper). You get two additional subs. Golden Goal. Someone should really score.

  19. Giovanni Taliaferro says:

    I feel that I have the best solution that will 1) Increase offensive attack during overtime 2) Increase the drama that overtime should have 3) Appease those like Blatter and myself who feel that PK’s should NEVER decide a title of any sort.

    It is a variation of the “Golden Goal” rule. Whoever scores first wins. That increases the drama and anticipation at every chance a team has to score. If the teams are still tied at the end of regulation, then the first overtime period starts for 20 minutes. What the difference is that one field player from each team is removed and it becomes 10 v 10 instead of 11 v 11. If at the end of the first overtime period then a second field player is removed and it goes to 9 v 9. If it does indead go 9 v 9 then each team is allowed 1 additional substiution for that and each 20 minute overtime period after to protect players from injury and get some fresh legs. Keep going till someone scores but with removing players this shouldn’t be all that long because there will be a lot more offensive play and more chances for each team because the field will open up a lot.

    That will solve all the problems in my eyes!

  20. Clayton says:

    So we’re going to move to dribble ups a-la high school soccer and old school MLS? No thanks – penalty kicks are where it’s at. Best way to decide a game after 120 minutes.

    If you don’t like penalties … bring back GOLDEN GOAL :) … now THAT’s drama

  21. juvi177 says:

    Maybe penalties should be changed. But maybe he should focus on eliminating diving/play acting.

  22. JoeW says:

    1. Golden Goal is a partial answer at best. What if you play 120 minutes and there is still no score? You keep playing…and playing….and playing. Soccer players are among the best conditioned/aerobic professional athletes on the planet in any team sport….and we’re seeing them drop in the middle of matches with heart failure.

    2. Removing players actually increases the amount of running and effort needed. And it wouldn’t stop a team from packing 7-8-9 guys behind the ball and looking for a counter (even more viable of a strategy b/c any team that pushes forward will expose even MORE space if they’re down 1-2-3 players).

    3. Here’s the challenge: you need a method that definitely produces a winner (not a likely winner, but is guaranteed to get a result) without having to go on and on and on. You can’t ask players to routinely go 120-150-170 minutes. PKs are often about luck (and place a disproportionate impact on the role and skill of the GK). We occasionally see the odd PK shootout that goes to 10 or 11 but the vast majority are resolved in 5. Ditto with the NASL shootout (which is less about luck and involves a bit more skill required).

  23. Ando says:

    My friend, We had Sudden Death once before. The complaints were that it was too American and too dramatic and not fair as good teams would lose on counterattacks or the 30 mins would be ultra-defensive.

    Personally, I want to go back to Golden Goal, but been there, done that says FIFA.

  24. BamaMan says:

    I cannot imagine an alternative to penalties that doesn’t put players at greater risk. Yes, it is effectively a one-on-one event but it’s also about the only physical activity you can expect a player to do after 120 minutes of running. If they asked players to keep playing – especially with the increased amount of running that having a reduced squad size would require – you would have a whole lot more Muamba-type incidents.

    Penalties may not be perfect, but I imagine their just about the only way to get it done.

  25. BamaMan says:

    I agree with the return of the Golden Goal for extra time. It would eliminate a lot of penalty shootouts from having to happen in the first place AND it would increase the drama of extra time.

  26. BamaMan says:

    Until players begin to drop. 1 substitution every 20 minutes isn’t going to cut it. You are asking guys to play the equivalent of two whole games back to back with no rest. If you increase the number of subs, you make it a contest between who has the better bench, which is also unfair.

    I agree that PKs are not truly soccer. But they are a necessary evil and the only way other than replays that I can see games being decided after 120 minutes without putting players in very great danger. Replays won’t happen because it’s not workable in a tournament situation.

  27. Rlw2020 says:

    +1 one of the things NASL got right. Id say golden goal with 1 sub then shootouts.

  28. Rlw2020 says:

    The way NHL is doing it now is cool, i believe they remove a player each et period then shootouts

  29. JG13 says:

    Since you are not Old School, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not?

  30. Just putting it out there says:

    Half-field set up with 6v6 or 5v5. The team with the ball gets 3-5 minutes to score. Then it flips to the other team to have a go. There are only 3 subs allowed between the offensive set and defensive set. Repeat the cycle until one team creates and scores then sucessfully defends the goal. At least in theory it could work. In college pointy ball it is compelling to watch. Just an out there idea I know.

  31. From the no-hands department says:

    Golden goal and pull the keepers after the first 15 minute overtime period.

  32. Tom says:

    There’s that old NASL shootout, but that’s no more team oriented than penalties. A little more skill involved from both player and goalkeeper, though.

  33. roberto says:

    I’m afraid penalties are just the best of a bad set. I wouldn’t have them changed for any alternative I’ve heard.

  34. Chris says:

    Why is unfair to have a “contest between who has the better bench”? Just wondering.

  35. Mimi says:

    Have you ever played set piece practice on EA FIFA?

    Have you ever played h-o-r-s-e?

    Combine the two.

    Team A puts the ball anywhere outside the 18.
    If the ball goes in team b Gets a turn at the same spot.
    If they clear the ball, team b can put the anywhere outside the 18.

  36. Chris says:

    In overtime, allow each team to sub in any remaining players. Also, eliminate goalkeepers. You can place a player or two “in the net” but no hands. Would be interesting to see it tried.

  37. I really don’t like PK, as it’s not soccer. My husband is a big college football fan, and they seem to have the best ‘have to have a winner’ scenario. Teams take turns on getting the ball in the 25 yard line, and you get 4 downs (or move if you move the 10 yards) to score. Then the other team gets the same chance. Both teams get the same number of chances. The football game is decided by playing football.

    I’d rather see the old style run up which lets the goalie move. It’s a little closer to soccer than the PK. I’d like the idea of the 6v6 or 5v5 on half field, as it’s more like soccer.

    During the 2010 WC there was a tongue in cheek article about how to eliminate the 0-0 score. Wish I could find it again, but some of the suggestions were, to play the overtime w/o a goalie; have the coaches duke it out in the center circle; have each team sing their national anthem w/o accompaniment. They might not be soccer, but they would be fun.

  38. Monkey D Dragon says:

    Team Oriented Penalties. Two attackers vs a goalkeeper and a defender. Each attacking pair appears only once thus each player on the team is tested, and it is still best out of five (obviously more if still tied after 5). It will also be impossible for players to refuse participation …cough, **Robben, cough…

  39. GJJ says:

    After extra time is over. Each team gets five corners from the side of their choosing. The defending team chooses which goal they want to defend (probably they end nearest their fans). The ball is live until the defending team can get the ball out or over the half way line. Best of five (goals scored) wins it. Sudden death after that. Fourth sub allowed. It requires all the skills needed in the game with far less running after extra time is over.

  40. Dave says:

    the easiest way to eliminate 0-0 ties is to remove the point for a 0-0 tie. If no one scores, no one gets a point.

  41. Joe+G says:

    Traditional 15 minute extra time period. If no one is ahead at that point, Golden Goal until someone scores.

  42. ManicMessiah says:

    The only solution if you wanted to keep playing would be, after 120 minutes of a game is played tied, you allow the game to continue with 15 minute halves but allow unlimited substitutions, allowing players to be subbed in and out, golden goal wins.

  43. ManicMessiah says:

    For the regular season, the NHL plays 4 on 4 for one overtime period (5 minutes) then goes to a shootout.

    For the playoffs it’s just a sudden death situation played at 5 on 5 (technically 6 on 6 but whatever).

  44. Tyler says:

    Group PKs.

    Line up five from your team, all in line with the spot, and you have to put them off in a small time window from first kick to last kick. Both teams do it, most successful kicks in wins.

    Sure, it’s not going to happen. But it’s a “team” effort, and it’d be fun to watch.

  45. DCUPedro says:

    Also, the match can last forever and absolutely exhaust players. Could be actually dangerous during world cup matches in the summer. 150 minutes of football in July in Qatar, anyone?

  46. DCUPedro says:

    If Bayern won on penalties and not Chelsea, what are the odds that Blatter even says anything?

    Penalties deciding a game are dumb — its like if baseball stopped after 12 innings and the teams just decided to settle it with a homerun derby. But there aren’t any alternatives.

    If a team doesn’t want to lose on penalties, it should win the game in regulation plus extra time. You can’t win the game in 120 minutes, you aren’t really the better side and deserve to have an arbitrary decision.

  47. ben in el cajon says:

    Um, here’s an idea that is super old: replays. If the score is tied after 120 minutes, play again in 3 days. It wouldn’t work for semi-final matches in tight tournaments, perhaps, but for all final matches, it would be perfect. Would TV companies whine about the extra revenue? No. Would host nations cry because 60,000 to 250,000 tourists stayed an extra few days? No. Would the fans who made the trip be upset? Maybe, but if we all knew the possibility of something like that happening, then we could plan for it.

    If after 240 minutes of super cometitive play two teams have the identical score, we should just assume they’ve tied and go to penalties or declare co-champions. No, I’m not joking.

  48. Pele says:

    Silver Goal. Play 15 minutes. If still tied, play an extra 15. If still tied, then penalties. No sense in forcing players to have to play 30 extra minutes…it is a psychological blow when you’re exhausted. But if you know that extra time can be only 15 more minutes if you go out to get goal, then maybe teams will put a little extra energy for 15 more minutes.

  49. John says:

    Why not start with 4 each side and add 1 player every 5 minutes?

  50. Chris says:

    Throw a second ball onto the field. See how teams deal.

    Allow teams to make additional subs onto the field in extra time, but at a 2 for 1 (two players come off for one fresh player).

    Just trying to think outside the box.

    By the way, hate the golden goal. Matches I’ve seen play that way ended up being way too defensive (teams would be more scared to give up the winning goal than to attack and try to score it).

  51. Chris says:

    Remove the goalies.

  52. Richard says:

    ^^ Not really, but in the regular season they do try to avoid the shootout

  53. Timbers Fan says:

    How about something like PKs but from further out, like from the D? Removes much of the luck of the goalie guessing which side to dive to, as he has time to react.

  54. Timbers Fan says:

    Or a sudden death goal-celebration contest?

  55. Timbers Fan says:

    Maybe 26′ out is better.

  56. John Lennon says:

    It can’t be sudden death.

    You have to give the other team their chance to do a goal-celebration.

  57. Brad says:

    I’ve always thought of overtime penalties as a punishment for the two teams because they didn’t risk enough going forward and/or played too defensively. Problem is that one team can park the bus while the other plays in their half the whole game.

    I think there needs to be a way to punish teams for being totally defensive the whole game. Maybe the team that had the most shots on goal get an extra man in OT. Maybe they have to take penalties from farther back? Problem is that it creates perverse incentives.

  58. Dimidri says:

    Right, because 7 v 7 doesn’t ‘reduce the essence of the sport’. Seems just as ‘artificial’ as a PK shootout. I think the better way to do it is to just maybe have 20-30 minutes more extra time with additional subs, like after 120 minutes you can make all 4 subs you have left, so, theoretically, 7/11(really 8/11 with keeper) would not have been playing for more than ~90 minutes. The others…

    Would also increase the importance of who makes the 18.

  59. Amru says:

    Yeah how is that unfair? At the end it proves who really has the better team, which is the whole point

  60. BamaMan says:

    Because if possible it should be best on best. Do you really want to watch an Argentina-Brazil match that is decided by a bunch of nonames instead of Messi and Neymar? Germany without Ozil? The US without Donovan and Dempsey? It’s one thing when fate intervenes and a player cannot finish because of injury. It’s another when you set up a system where the inferior team can just park a bus in the full knowledge that the other squad’s best players won’t get to keep playing in extra extra time.

  61. BamaMan says:

    As a huge college football fan, I’d argue that college football overtime has nothing to do with football. No punting, no kicking game. Only a short field. It encourages scoring but that’s still not football. I like the NFL Playoff rule best.

    I think PKs are soccer at its purest. One guy is trying to score a goal. Another guy is trying to stop it. The entire point of it is to take the running out of the equation because the two sides have run themselves to death for 120 minutes.

    Any solution that involves running is by necessity going to be of a lesser quality than what has come before.

  62. THomas says:

    What? MannicMessiah is correct.

  63. Chris says:

    A reasonable argument but I’d still prefer that to penalties.

  64. I prefer Golden Goal. I think with no prospect of a penalty shootout, there’s no incentive to shutdown and wait for the lottery to start.

    But, I think Paul Gardner proposed an interesting concept. If the game is tied, the team with more corner kicks wins the game. There is some sense to it because, in most cases, the team that has had more chances at goal will end up with more CK’s. And, if the game is tied and your down on CKs, you better get the ball down to the other end. And who knows, you might even get a chance at goal. There are obvious ways to game the system but it would be a fascinating experiment.

  65. fischy says:

    I agree.

  66. fischy says:

    The Run-Up — what the NASL called the shoot-out — was a comical perversion of the game. It’s weak in hockey, but it’s clownish in soccer.

  67. fischy says:

    Keep the goalies, but remove the field players.

  68. fischy says:

    “Roy Hodgson has tabbed untested 19-year-old Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at League Two club Cheltenham Town”…

    That’s like Cody Cropper becoming the USA’s #3.

    Good Grief! Doesn’t England have any decent goalies?

  69. They can and do kick field goal in college overtime. Soccer is all about running, but after 120 minutes, it should be limited somewhat. Still don’t like PKs.

  70. packy says:

    After the overtime periods, winner decided by

    A) total corners awarded only when keeper last touches the ball over the touchline

    B) number of red cards, if necessary

    C) number of yellow cards, if necessary

    D) number of fouls, if necessary

    E) penalties

  71. DemonJuice says:

    “The president of FIFA has your back”