Fifa sends out mixed messages on corruption
Given England's appalling record in penalty shoot-outs at World Cups, anything that might help swing the balance back in their favour will no doubt be welcomed by Fabio Capello's team.
Fifa's new directive to all 29 World Cup referees and their assistants means that any players who feint to kick the ball at the end of their run-up will now be booked, any resulting goals will be disallowed and the spot-kick will be re-taken.
For the avoidance of doubt, Jose Garcia Aranda, Fifa's head of refereeing, played examples of the sort of penalties that will be outlawed for the first time in South Africa to officials at their plush headquarters on the outskirts of Pretoria.
And although most of the players featured in the video are Brazilian, Aranda, a Spaniard, denied the amendment to Rule 14 was in response to a phenomenon that is seen mostly in South American football.
For England, who have been eliminated after losing penalty shoot-outs in three of their last four World Cups (1990, 1998, 2006) as well as Euro 2004 and Euro 96, the rule change may help level the playing field. Capello's side could play Brazil in the semi-finals, if they get that far in South Africa.
Howard Webb, England's refereeing representative at this World Cup, told me he thought the law change was a good move.
I also asked him about the threat of match-fixing, following claims by Lord Triesman - made in a recorded private conversation - that the Spanish FA was looking to bribe referees at this World Cup.
Webb said referees always needed to be vigilant but added that, in 20 years of refereeing, he had never witnessed anything suspicious. He said no special directive had been issued to referees here either.
Aranda refused to comment on the remarks of Triesman, who was forced to step down as chairman of the Football Association in the wake of his damaging comments, but did say he was confident none of the referees selected to officiate in South Africa were corrupt. He added he was not worried about the threat of match-fixing over the next month.
However, this World Cup is likely to be the biggest betting event in history with consultancy Global Betting and Gaming estimating that £3.35bn will be wagered during the competition. The amount gambled illegally in Asia could be at least the same again. That must increase the risk.
Fifa's refusal to acknowledge the potential threat - following Triesman's comments, which were summarily dismissed by Fifa's ethics committee 10 days ago - could be seen as complacency, too.
But Fifa does have an early warning system in place and in May set up a confidential telephone hotline for players, coaches and referees to report any suspicious approaches or attempts to bribe them in South Africa.
Some members of Fifa's refereeing committee are no strangers to dealing with corruption allegations. Michal Listkiewicz, the former head of the Polish FA and also a member of Fifa's refereeing commission, was in charge when the country was hit by a series of damaging match-fixing claims in 2007. More than 150 Polish officials, referees and players were accused of corruption and a number of court cases are still ongoing.
The scandal triggered a major row with Fifa, with the governing body angry at the Polish government's appointment of an administrator to run the FA following the affair. The FA was even suspended by Fifa as it opposes any government interference in the running of national associations.
In a separate case, Liestkiewicz was questioned by prosecutors in November 2009 on suspicion he obstructed court-ordered proceedings toward an indebted club.
Jerzy Kasiura, of the Prosecutor's Office in Wroclaw, said Listkiewicz was suspected of having ordered a money transfer of some seven million zlotys (£1.8m) to be made in 2000 from the Polish FA to the account of a sports firm. A court had earmarked that money for the cash-strapped Widzew Lodz club instead.
Listkiewicz denied the charges and was released on 60,000 zlotys (£15,265) bail pending further proceedings.
Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Football Federation, has also been accused of failing to take strong action to deal with a series of damaging referee corruption cases in Brazil over the last two decades. Teixeira is deputy chairman of Fifa's refereeing committee.
There is absolutely no suggestion Listkiewicz was involved in any way in the corruption scandal which hit Polish football and he has not been convicted of anything in connection with the transfer of money to the sports firm. Nor has Teixeira ever been directly implicated in the refereeing scandals in Brazil.
The accusation, however, is that both men failed to deal with corruption in their own countries.
But if Fifa are determined to send a strong message about match-fixing, the presence of Texeira and Liskiewicz on the referees committee might appear to undermine that message.
Interesting, too, that Brazilian referee Carlos Simon will take charge of England's opening World Cup match against the United States in Rustenburg on Saturday, 12 June. He is certainly a controversial figure in his homeland - with one club, Flamengo, recently complaining to Fifa following his handling of a league match.
Still, Simon is still regarded as the top official in Brazil and this will be his third successive World Cup. He has also taken charge of an England game before, refereeing their opening match in 2002 against Sweden.