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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 27, 2006

Blatter plans to scrap penalties for World Cup finals

ZURICH, Sept 27 (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes future World Cup finals should not be decided by penalties and said changes could be in place for the showpiece tournament in South Africa in four years.

Italy's win over France on penalties made up for their 1994 final defeat by Brazil in a shootout, but Blatter said the manner of deciding it was 'a tragedy'.

He said a replay or gradually deducting players in extra time would be a better solution.

'We have four years or so, so I think we have time,' Blatter said at a Swiss Chamber of Commerce event in Zurich.

'Maybe to replay the match if it's the final, you can't do that through the tournament because of lack of time. Maybe to take players away and play golden goal,' Blatter said, adding that high-level discussions would start soon.

'When it comes to the World Cup final it is passion, and when it goes to extra time it is a drama,' the head of world football's governing body said in an earlier speech. 'But when it comes to penalty kicks it is a tragedy.

'Football is a team sport and penalties is not a team, it is the individual.'

West Germany won the first penalty shootout in the tournament, beating France in the 1982 semi-final.

Blatter also took took a swipe at the high salaries paid to footballers, calling them immoral, and said FIFA would take on the issue as clubs - particularly in England but also in other major European leagues - price spectators out of stadiums in order to pay huge wage bills.

'It is not moral, it is definitely not good for our sport,' he said. 'They pay too much money to the players. There is an imbalance in their finances and they try to get money by all means.'

He said ticket prices should be kept low to maintain attendance levels, as television companies will not pay as much to screen matches played in front of half-empty stadiums.

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