No one can ever say Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President, is not a man with both ideas and opinions.

Despite the justifiable public praise for much about the 2010 FIFA World Cup – the enthusiasm of the South Africans –except those vuvuzelas – and the fantastic stadia, the reality is that for the majority of football supporters the quality of the football in South Africa was very disappointing.

The best team won but only after arguably the worst final in World Cup history.

Blatter knows this and has set out some ideas to tackle the problem.

He believes that negative tactics in the group stages, when teams were more intent on not losing rather than winning, must be changed.

To combat the problem, he will ask FIFA’s Football Committee and Technical Committee to consider new ideas to encourage “free-flowing” football.

This Committee is chaired by Franz Beckenbauer and includes Michel Platini and Pele.

“In the first few matches of the group stage in South Africa, we witnessed some teams that went out to avoid defeat, that were playing for a draw from the outset. This is a topic that I would like to discuss at upcoming committee meetings.

“We have to try to find a way to encourage free-flowing football in tournaments like the World Cup, with teams playing to win.”

Blatter’s comments about extra time may seem surprising given that only two matches went to penalties in the World Cup, Paraguay’s victory over Japan in the round-of-16 stage and Uruguay’s win against Ghana in the quarter finals.

However, the possibility of ending extra time is on the agenda at meetings of the FIFA’s Football Committee and Technical Committees in Zurich on October 18.

The Golden Goal rule by which a side wins as soon they score the first goal in extra time, was introduced in 1993 but scrapped  11 years later.

“Often we see teams set themselves up even more defensively in extra time in an attempt to avoid conceding a goal at all costs,” Blatter said. “To prevent this, we could go directly to a penalty shoot-out at full time, or reintroduce the Golden Goal rule.”

My own opinion is that going directly to the penalty shoot out is worth considering since all that is required in the knock-out stages of any is a result and in some cases teams play for a penalty shoot out from  the start of extra time.

A complicating factor is some competitions is also the “away goals rule”, though not obviously in the World Cup.

The Golden Goal, however, can be an unfair way of achieving a result. Consider if one team has to play into a strong wing in the first half of extra time and the other team scores the Golden Goal. This is not fair.

Blatter’s stated aim is to encourage “flee-flowing football.”

The answer lies with the coaches – not with the competition rules!

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