FIFA to review fair play rule after World Cup following Senegal elimination
FIFA has said it will review the fair play rule that saw Senegal eliminated from the World Cup because they had received more yellow cards than Japan.
The rule, in use for the first time at the World Cup, meant Japan barely attacked at the end of their 1-0 loss to Poland on Thursday because they were due to qualify on the strength of their disciplinary record.
FIFA competition director Colin Smith said officials would evaluate the rule after the tournament "but as it currently stands we don't see any need to change."
Smith defended the rule as preferable to drawing lots to determine who qualifies, although "the preference is that slots and teams advancing is on the basis of goals and results and there's clear winners ... the fair play criteria is an additional criteria and it's very clear."
Japan coach Akira Nishino said he had not intended to settle for a 1-0 defeat, calling his reliance on fair play "a very tough and risky situation."
But Senegal counterpart Aliou Cisse said his side did not "deserve" to advance to the knockout stage as they became the first team to be eliminated via their fair play ranking.
"We haven't qualified because of fair play. We have fewer points in fair play and Senegal doesn't qualify because we don't deserve it," Cisse said. "This is one of the rules. We have to respect it.
"Of course, we would prefer to be eliminated another way. It's a sad for us, but we knew these were the regulations."