Football: FA rushed to implement Fifa changes: Clive White finds Graham Kelly a keen enthusiast for the World Cup changes

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The Independent Online
SO SMITTEN was it by the success of the World Cup finals that the Football Association implemented that competition's rule changes and new directives without waiting for official sanction from Fifa, it revealed yesterday.

While managers and certain professional bodies have expressed reservations about the implementation of the new edicts, principally those affecting offside and the tackle from behind, Graham Kelly, the FA's chief executive, is convinced they can be as beneficial to the game in England as they were in the United States this summer.

'Everybody I've spoken to has been bubbling with enthusiasm about the effects of the World Cup. We thought it was important that the positive impact should be maintained so we've been briefing referees, managers, coaches and players for the last two weeks,' Kelly said. Notification of Fifa's new rulings only arrived at Lancaster Gate last week.

'We're not trying to tell referees how to referee, but what we do demand, increasingly, is that referees apply the laws of the game firmly and fairly,' Kelly said. Ken Ridden, the FA's director of refereeing, expressed a hope that red and yellow cards would act as a deterrent.

On top of Fifa's mandatory instructions, the FA have passed on one or two directives of their own. Referees will be told to be particularly tough on reckless challenges with the arm or elbow, following what seemed to be an increase in this offence last season. Attempts will be made to eradicate offensive language, about which Kelly said they get a 'shoal of complaints'. At the request of referees, coloured cards will be brandished immediately following indiscretions rather than after the customary lecture, so as to fall into line with the international game.

Also random drug testing is to be carried out at training sessions as well as competitive matches and will involve youth players as well as seniors.