Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hands Off Our Draws

Popped down to the Emirates tonight to watch the Youth Cup semi-final with The Hat. It's the only chance I'll have to get in there for £3 that's for sure. The stadium is very impressive. The game was OK, 1-0 to the Arsenal, quite a good strike for the goal but no one really stood out, couldn't really see any future England captains or anything like that but what do I know.

As it was a two-legged affair, there was no need for United to go nuts chasing an equaliser and so, wisely for their years, they didn't. Which is all fair enough. On arriving home though, I see this, which is possibly even a little more horrifying than Barnsley winning 4-2 away. The basic idea is no more draws in the league ! Let's have exciting penalty shootouts instead !

The first thing you have to do when proposing a rule change is to ask yourself how will teams try to exploit it. Never doubt that they will. Basically this is a clear incentive for away teams (and inferior home teams) to shut up shop and go for the draw. Instead of 1 point, now they'll have a coin flip for 3. There are far too many teams going out to draw games as it is. It's precisely what 3 points for a win was brought in to discourage, and that worked.

In addition, it will increase the luck factor considerably. Take one look at the Championship and you'll see that it's already remarkably close as it is, especially at the top. Leagues 1 and 2 are also much more competitive than the Premiership. I really don't know what they're trying to fix here. Conceding a late equaliser is bad enough but at least in that case you still get something for the game. Conceding a late equaliser and then losing a shootout for a six point swing against a close rival would just be way too much. I'm not being a traditionalist for the sake of it, I just think that this is a really bad idea and I hope it's killed off ASAP. Fortunately, the clear majority of the comments on BBC Sport in response to this give it the kicking it deserves. I mean it really couldn't be any more obvious that this would make weaker teams play more negatively.


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