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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK

Meet the BBC Team
Tackling new rules
image: [ Players may have to change the habits of a lifetime ]
Players may have to change the habits of a lifetime

France is hosting 32 nations - more than any previous World Cup finals. It is a safe bet it will have more red cards too.

Football's law-maker, FIFA, has sanctioned that tackling from behind will be a sending-off offence and that is bound to cause controversy.

FIFA's decision was influenced by injuries to players like the former European Player of the Year, Dutchman Marco Van Basten, who was forced into premature retirement three years ago damaged ankles.

The ruling favours forwards with defenders wary of diving in. But it could also have a serious impact on tough-tackling midfielders like England's David Batty and Brazilian Dunga.

It was originally thought that only dangerous tackles from behind would mean an early bath. But FIFA has now made it clear that all tackles from behind will be red card offences, and referees will have no room for discretion.

[ image: Seeing red: more to come in France ...]
Seeing red: more to come in France ...
English are so concerned that coach Glenn Hoddle has arranged for a referee to be on hand for training matches to ensure that players do not break the new laws.

The adjustment could be too much for some players who will no doubt find it difficult to change the habits of a lifetime.

Referees have also been told they should tell teams how much injury time they intend to play at the end of the first half.

Another new rule enables teams to have a third goalkeeper on standby, who can be brought into the squad if one of their two nominated keepers are injured or ill.

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Tackling new rules

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