FIFA panel invites debate on 'radical' 60-minute game clock

Under the proposals players would be allowed to play free-kicks and corners to themselves instead of passing; the ball need not be stationary for a free-kick; a penalty would be awarded for a goalkeeper handling a backpass; and a penalty goal could be given if an outfield player handles on or close to the goalline.

In the potential new format, the clock would be stop as there was any break in play - with Ifab claiming a regular 90-minute match only sees around 60 minutes of playing time.

"The strategy proposes measures to reduce time-wasting and "speed up" the game".

The proposals at the moment are only for consideration and are part of a strategy document issued by IFAB called "Play Fair Strategy".

IFAB said some of the proposals could be implemented immediate while others are "ready for testing" and some are "for discussion".

Players will be able to play free kicks or corners to themselves.

The International Football Association Board (Ifab) - football's rule-making body - are set to propose the revolutionary new idea. A start-stop clock is used in games such as basketball where the clock is stopped every time the ball goes out of play, a player is fouled, when a player takes free throws or a substitution is made.

Buzzer beaters work in basketball because it takes only a couple of seconds to score at the other end but on a football pitch, it is better if a referee allows one final throw of the dice to get the ball upfield and score.

The proposals already being tested include the idea of only allowing captains to speak to referees to prevent match officials being mobbed.

The proposals are being trialed at the Confederations Cup in Russian Federation, which started on Saturday.

The IFAB are also looking at the possibility of giving penalties for goalkeepers handling backpasses, an offence which now incurs an indirect free-kick inside the box, and awarding "penalty goals" for handballs on the line.

"The "first" kick in kicks from the penalty mark has a built-in advantage primarily because there is greater mental pressure on the second kicker (in each round) who often faces instant elimination if they miss their kick (especially once the first four kicks for each team have been completed)", the document says.

The Play Fair! document will be discussed at various meetings before decisions are taken on whether to develop ideas further or discard them.

  • Julie Sanders