Despite His White Boots

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If I Ran Football (1) (Of Many) - Rule Changes

My boiling frustration at how football is run has finally reached a point where Twitter just isn't a sufficient outlet, so I'm going to lay out what I would change, about football (in a fantasy world where I had ultimate power). No doubt this will become more and more utopian and idealistic, but for now I'm just going to propose various rule changes that I think would all work and would all improve the game (short of technology being introduced, which I'll come onto later). Some of them aren't really even changes, just proper implementation of existing rules.

1. Game clock of 60 minutes which runs only when the ball is in play. Bang. 90% of time-wasting eliminated on the spot. At the end of a half, I'd suggest that play continues until the ball goes dead, as in rugby (not including fouls of course).

2. While we're on time-wasting, shielding the ball in the corner of the pitch with the intent to waste time is an indirect free kick for obstruction. IMO this isn't even a rule change.

3. As in rugby, dissent results in the dead ball being moved up to 10 yards in any direction the team offended against wishes [1]

4. Referee has a spray can with a form of paint that fades away after a minute or two. For a free kick that's a shooting opportunity, spray the line 10 yards away. Defender in front of the line when the ball is played, re-take. This is already being done in South America. Now I think of it, referee could also mark the spot where a free kick is supposed to be taken from.

5. A "professional foul" that results in a penalty is not also a red card (unless the sheer violence of the challenge merits is). I've been told this is actually coming in next season.

6. A defender handling a goalbound shot results in a penalty goal (whether accidentally or not). Obviously there is some judgement required by the referee but this is clearly the solution for an offence like Suarez' handball against Ghana.

7. Holding at a set piece is a free kick, and in the penalty area by a defender, it's a penalty. Fine, give 10 penalties per game for one week, the next week they'll stop. Again, this is only the correct implementation of existing rules.

That ought to do for a start! Next time I'll move on to decision review, using technology both on the spot and post-game.

[1] Not just 10 yards forward, there are situations where 25 yards out is a better spot than 20 for free kicks.

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