Fifa may relax bans for yellow cards

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The head of Fifa said yesterday that the game's world governing body is considering changing the rules so that a one-match suspension will be given to players who receive yellow cards in three games rather than two, as happens now.

"In a competition like the World Cup it should perhaps be three yellow cards in the first round and three in the second. This is a wise suggestion and we will take it up. It would avoid players in the semi-finals on one yellow card who, by bad luck, may get a second and cannot play in the final."

Blatter has apologised to the Russian referee Valentin Ivanov for criticising his performance in the stormy Netherlands v Portugal match. Blatter had said Ivanov "deserved a yellow card himself" after showing a record 16 yellow and four red cards.

Now the Fifa president has back-tracked and put the blame on the players and the coaches. He said: "I regret what has happened and the declaration I made concerning his activity in the match. The players did deserve those yellow cards and the benches deserved the yellow card I gave to Ivanov."

Blatter also criticised the growing practice of feigning injury in an attempt to pressurise opponents into kicking the ball out to stop a promising attack. "Lying on the ground and pretending to be injured is just abusing [the convention of] stopping play for injury," he said. "It is cheating and we must look at this."

Blatter announced that Fifa will experiment with goal-line technology again at next year's Under-20 World Championships in Canada. A microchip ball was tested at the Under-17 World Championships in Peru last year.

Blatter confirmed that Brazil are the most likely hosts of the 2014 World Cup, but still need to prove they can build the required stadiums and infrastructure.