Velappan puts faith in golden goal method
Asia's top football official has defended the 'golden goal' rule which came under fire from FIFA and UEFA officials.
Peter Velappan, general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said yesterday: 'The ruling may not be the best way to decide a game, but at the moment there is no better alternative to replace it.' Velappan, speaking from the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, added: 'Unless FIFA finds a better alternative the golden goal rule will continue for a long while.' FIFA denied reports yesterday that it had plans to scrap the rule after it had flopped badly at last month's European Championship in England, the first time it was used in a major tournament.
In the earlier reports, FIFA technical director Walter Gagg was quoted as condemning the ruling for encouraging defensive play.
'I saw the Euro 96 matches. In my opinion, there was no defensive play as Gagg has said,' said Velappan.
'The ruling has brought excitement to football and has led to positive football since all the players know they have to score goals as soon as possible.
'I understand those countries who lost in the extra time were very unhappy.' Gagg also said the ruling was only good for women's and amateur football but was not necessarily good for professionals.
However, Velappan said the ruling should be applied to all levels of football.
'If it is good for one level of football, it is good for other levels as well,' said Velappan.
'We can't have different rulings on different levels.' Asia is one of the pioneer regions to use the ruling as Japan first introduced it in the J.League in 1993.
The ruling has been applied to all AFC tournaments, including the Asian Cup - the elite competition in the region, since 1994.
'We will continue to adopt it in all our tournaments until FIFA makes a different decision on it,' said Velappan.