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FIFA behind in preparing World Cup referees.

By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Wednesday, May 20, 1998) -- World soccer governing body FIFA still does not have a video ready for referees and teams to show what kind of tackles will get an automatic red card at the World Cup. It is expected to be another week before all the necessary approvals have been given.

Since a March 26 workshop for World Cup referees in France, FIFA has gone through about a half dozen drafts of tackle incidents before a provisional selection could be made, according to FIFA referee committee chairman David Will.

The video is expected to have 18 tackles divided into three categories, showing tackles that should only be a foul, others that deserve a yellow (caution) card and a final batch that should be red-carded (expulsion).

Using three distinct categories already is a far cry from earlier claims that all tackles from behind would earn an automatic red card. Most observers say the key will be if the contact is with "ferocity or brutality" and endangers the player's safety."

"In the end it will come down to the referee," Will said.

Germany, known for crunching defensive play, is reported to be concerned. We have to adjust ourselves now," coach Berti Vogts said. "We must use quicker defenders."

One of its hardest tacklers is defender Juergen Kohler, ejected in the Brazil game last month. That (red card) was justified," Kohler said. "But to punish every tackle from behind, even if you clearly play the ball, is a joke. I won't be able to do anything anymore."

Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at jlangdon@gns.gannett.com.