Football. The World Game. Perfect the way it is? Hardly. The game has gone through many changes since it’s inception in the mid 1800’s. From initially being able to control the ball with your hand, the dimensions of the field to changes to the offside law. Now from next season FIFA has approved the use of goal line technology to help any disputed goals. A waste of money in my opinion as it would have been much cheaper to allow the fourth official to watch a replay and inform the referee if the ball had traveled over the line. The installation of the cameras and technology involved in the approved goal-line tech is estimated to cost £15,000 at each ground.
So what other changes could the game under go to help try to refine the game? These are just a few things I think would help the game.
- Stop the clock every time the ball is not in play.
If you were to watch a match and add up all the time the ball is actually out play (for throw-ins, corners, goalkicks etc) firstly you’d be really pathetic and secondly you be shocked how much time is actually wasted. In the 2010-11 Premier League season the ball was actually on the field, on average, for 62 min 39 sec. That means you’re missing out on nearly 15 min per half of football. All of a sudden that added minute at the end of the first half seems pretty silly. It’s not that hard to regulate really. The fourth official can hold a stop watch and pause it every time the ball is out of play or when a player is ‘injured’. It would help combat the trend of players rolling around the ground trying to waste time or players strolling to the side line when a subsituation is being made.
- Reward attacking play.
It doesn’t really seem fair does it? that if your team were to win 5-0 you still get the same number of points as a side that won 1-0. A return to awarding teams two points for a win may be the way and offering sides three points if they score five goals or more. It would certainly help in international tournaments where defensive and negative football has become to norm in the group stages. Or alternatively keep the current point system but award sides a bonus point if they score four goals or more. Imagine your side has just lost 5-4. The winning side may get four points but your side will still get one. Ultimately fans pay to see goals, especially the casual viewer who only watches football during the World Cup year. Too often in recent World Cups the group stage have seen plenty of low scoring games. In the 2010 World Cup the 48 group matches averaged 2.1 goals a game which is not bad but there were 15 matches that ended in either a 1-0 or a 0-0.
- Changing the red card rule.
I have always felt it’s really harsh on a side if their goalkeeper commits a foul and is sent off and the offending team has to then face a penalty. The punishment seems way too harsh. The number of penalties awarded the season just past in the Premier League was 83. A total of 380 games are played in a season so that means on average 0.21 penalties are awarded each match, so by that reasoning penalties are hard to come by (Spurs and Swansea didn’t get one penalty all season). So to send off a player as important as a goalkeeper and reduce a side to ten men and then award a penalty, which is such a rare occurrence, seems like an extreme punishment for one foul that would only result in a free kick on any other part of the pitch.
- Get rid of the away goals rule.
The living football brain in jar that is Jonathan Wilson argued it best when he questioned whether the aways-goal rule was still relevant. It was introduced in 1965 as a way of ensuring that replays wouldn’t be needed in a time when travel was not as easy as today. Also it’s just not fair. Remember in 2003 when the two Milan clubs met in the Champions League Semi-final and over the two legs the score was 1-1. AC Milan went through on the away goals rule even though they both share the same stadium. Furthermore it seems ridiculous to continue with the away goals rule in extra-time after the scores are level after two matches. Surly at this time home ground advantage counts for little when fatigue has set in. Now it’s not a bad result to get a 0-0 in the first leg for the home side as it then puts all the pressure on the other team in the next game to not concede as well as insuring they score first thus making them more open to counter-attacks.
- Retrospective punishment.
This season Wigan’s Callum McManaman almost broke Newcastle’s Massiado Haidara’s leg with a shockingly high tackle. Anyone who saw the tackle would have no problem with the player receiving a red card. However the match official did nothing and there were calls for the FA to charge McManaman. That didn’t happen as FIFA do not want associations re-refereeing incidents as it will under mind the authority of the match official. It just sounds like political correctness out of control. Yet this rule seems to be inconsistent, as Luis Suarez was caught on tape biting Branislav Ivanovic and was banned for 10 matches. Much like in the NRL in Australia where a review panel that can revist incidents from the weekends matches and hand out punishments accordingly. Such a system could also work in football.
Do you agree or disagree with these ideas? Feel free to add your own ideas for things you would like to see introduced in football.