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Beckenbauer's task force suggests offside rule change

ZURICH (Reuters) -- A FIFA task force headed by former Germany captain Franz Beckenbauer has suggested changing the offside law and abolishing red cards for less serious offences in the penalty area.

Beckenbauer said that the current offside rule involving active and passive offside was too complicated while the so-called "triple punishment" for offences in the penalty area was too harsh.

Both proposals are likely to go before the next meeting of the IFAB, soccer's rule-making committee, in March.

The group, including a number of ex-players, referees and doctors, is looking at ways of improving the entertainment level at the 2014 World Cup after the previous tournament in South Africa was marred by negative play and histrionics.

"We should go back and make it more simple, we have to find the right wording and that goes for the penalties as well," Beckenbauer told reporters.

"It will improve the flow of the game.

"We have a situation with active and passive offside at the moment, I think we should stay away from complicated expressions, we should go back to making it more simple, not like it was at the beginning but somewhere in between.

"In my time it was very simple, offside was offside, it didn't matter where the ball was. It's a nonsense, it's too complicated."

Under the current law, play continues even if the attacking team has a player who is clearly offside but that team is in possession of the ball. However, if that player, who is considered passively offside, touches the ball, he becomes active and play is stopped.

Beckenbauer said that penalty area offences should only by punished with a red card if they involved a handball by a defender on the goalline - such as Luis Suarez's save for Uruguay against Ghana at the last World Cup -- or a violent foul.

Otherwise, he said, a yellow card and penalty would be enough.

"If it's a simple foul in the penalty area, where you try to get the ball but are a second late, a penalty and yellow card are enough," he said.

"If it's a violent foul, which would have been a red card anywhere on the field, then it this case its a penalty and a red card."

FIFA said the task force would also look at ways of improving the conduct of players.

"The task force believes it is crucial that a concrete action plan be developed for the next meeting...in particular related to the conduct of players, coaches and officials, who must be role models for the fans and the general public." said FIFA.

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