There is speculation that the final of the European Women's Football Championships could be in jeopardy as sweeping changes in the basic rules of womens' football are introduced next year.
'FIFA is helping by increasing public awareness and conducting information campaigns as well as overcoming social and cultural obstacles for women with the ultimate aim of improving women's standing in society. The adaptation of the current rules is seen as means of being able to to popularise football to a growing number of new players', says a FIFA spokeswoman who refused to be named.
The drastic changes include the period of a match which will be prolonged from today's 90 minutes to 6 hours. For the first time players will be allowed to have their mobile phones with them during a match. Regular 'check SMS' pauses will be at the discretion of the referee. 'Adjust make-up' stoppages have proven to have been popular in the past and to this end, players will also be allowed to take a small handbag on to the pitch. Large mirrors are to be installed at the edge of the pitch to facilitate this. FIFA drew the line at players being allowed to bring personal lap-tops on to the pitch although Ipods have got the thumbs-up. A 'must-go-to-the-loo' stoppage every 10 minutes will be introduced.
Perhaps the most controversial new measures are what is now to be allowed 'foul'-wise. Hair-pulling and scratching are OK as well as striking another player with a handbag as long as this is 'not below the belt'. Should nail varnish need to be re-applied after a scratching incident, time will be allowed for this. FIFA has ruled that players who are prone to breaking down in floods of tears, especially after a negative decision by the referee, are to bring their own box of Kleenex with them. As a courtesy to others, players will not be allowed to continue until runny mascara has been fixed.
The 'yellow' card will now be a postcard depicting a floral motif and the 'red' card a subtle pink colour.
Lotta Schelin, forward with the Swedish national team commenting on the new measures vowed never to play football again if the new rules were introduced.
- Att FIFA har kommit på såna förnedrande regler är fullständigt för jävligt. Jag är förkrossade ledsen och arg! said Lotta Schelin as she rushed back to the dressing room.