Football / World Cup: Fifa considers three-point win

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The Independent Online
UNCOWED by the lack of enthusiasm that greeted its plan to widen goals, the latest Fifa innovation designed to make the World Cup finals more attractive to its American hosts is expected to be unveiled this week: three points for a win in first-round matches, writes Rob Steen.

Sepp Blatter, the general-secretary of the game's governing body, is in favour of changing the points system and the issue will be discussed by Fifa representatives in Zurich this week.

The World Cup organising committee and its decision-making executive may also discuss the thornier issue of sudden- death extra time, tested at the World Youth Cup in Australia earlier this year, although Blatter insisted in February that it would not be introduced at next year's World Cup.

Jack Charlton, the Republic of Ireland manager, has forgiven Paul McGrath, the defender who went missing before last week's World Cup tie in Tirana, and restored him to the squad for this month's qualifiers in Latvia and Lithuania.

Michael Hughes, the Northern Ireland winger, will play against Latvia in tomorrow's World Cup qualifier in Riga after all, the Irish FA having cited Fifa regulations in order to persuade his club, Strasbourg, to release him from their vital French League game against Lille the same evening.

Wallace Mercer, the Hearts chairman, has announced his intention to resign in order to take up permanent residence in France. His personal shareholding, worth 75 per cent of the Edinburgh club's equity, has been made open to offers.

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