Platini scheme set for axe

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Football's law-makers will be urged to scrap experiments with extra assistant referees when they meet in Zurich on Saturday.

FIFA's former director of refereeing George Cumming believes the plan being championed by UEFA president Michel Platini for an extra official behind each goal is not practical.

Cumming, now working with referee development in Asia, said: "I'm not in favour of it and I can't see it developing throughout world football. To have extra assistant referees means extra expense and it's only elite competitions using them right now. You want basic laws to apply throughout the world."

The system is being trialled in the Europa League and Saturday's International FA Board (IFAB) meeting will be updated on how successful the experiment has been.

The IFAB will also decide on a change to the rule-book which could lead to a dramatic drop in red cards but there will be no discussion on changes to the offside rule. They will rule on a FIFA proposal where players would no longer receive an automatic red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity if the referee gives a penalty as well.

There have been reports that FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been investigating how hockey plays without offsides, but FIFA insist there is no suggestion that he wants to bring this into football.

The main item on the agenda is the automatic red card and there has been a growing chorus of opinion that the punishment is too harsh - a penalty, a red card for the defender and a subsequent suspension.

Carling Cup final referee Phil Dowd is widely believed to not have applied the rules correctly when he awarded a penalty but did not dismiss Nemanja Vidic for fouling Gabriel Agbonlahor last Sunday.

A rule change would clear up such grey areas and FIFA have submitted the item suggesting the offence is down-graded to a yellow card if a penalty is awarded.

The IFAB agenda says the FIFA submission is "to discuss sending-off offences, particularly the triple punishment (penalty kick, red card, player suspension) that results when a player denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to the opposing team".

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Europa League
Gabriel Agbonlahor
League Cup
Nemanja Vidic

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