Marco Van Basten – the Technical Director of FIFA wants to change our game by suggesting some rule changes. We take look at a few of them and how they could potential develop the game…..or in fact just create a whole new game!?
This is going to be a huge no from me and I will explain why. Once you remove offside – you force the game close to the goal and it descends into launching the ball close to the gaol and a series of goal mouth scrambles. The beauty of the offside is it forces teams to be creative in order to break it – but it also, highlights the intelligent defending of the goal and the space behind the defense.
You only have to look at Barcelona in their prime when they would play the ball forwards and backwards – breaking lines and pulling players out of position in order to attack the space in behind the defenders.
Shoot-out instead of extension
The MLS used to employ the style suggested. Each team has 5 people attempt to attack a goal from 25 meters out with a set time limit. The player has to decide when to dribble, shoot, take round the goalkeeper etc and it more closely relates to the game of a 1v1 on goal. Penalty shoot-outs already bring a lot of drama and excitement so they would be tough to beat, but I for one would like to see some of the worlds best players perform these as a trial. I’m sure they would result in some very creative and brilliant goals.
More than three changes
At the youth level in the US – this already happens and is a great way to ensure lots of playing time, while having coachable time directly with individuals during the game.
Enabling teams the teams to have larger amounts of substitutes will ensure that there are more fresh legs on the field more often. Surely that would reduce the amount of late goals and drama that are often a result of tired legs or lapses in concentration due to mental fatigue. I’m all for it reducing the amount of injuries but you have to consider that it would reduce the drama and certainly increase the amount of stoppages in a game to make all the substitutions!
Prevent the formation of packs
Take a lesson from Rugby – the referee speaks only with the captains and they have to ensure that their team displays the correct behavior. You only have to look at the level of respect that the rugby players have for the ref and compare it to our game and you will notice an abyss of difference between the two. Frankly, it is embarrassing how teams behave and as role models they are only showing the young players that watch the game that it is acceptable behavior!
Maximum number of fouls
This falls in line with the basketball system where players ‘foul-out’ of the game if they commit a certain amount of fouls. There certainly are arguments for removing persistent offenders of fouls but it is hard enough job for the referee to distinguish every single foul…now we are asking them to keep tally’s of it too. To keep track of this you will have to increase the number of referees officiating a game. The current system works and I would suggest keeping it that way.
Less mandatory games per year
The age old debate – are teams and players playing too much. At the youth level it is important to monitor this and ensure that the players are not simply run into the ground with the amount of games they play. I would argue the same for the professional game – the big stumbling block is that it is an entertainment medium in high demand (in most places around the world). So, while the coaches and players push for it – the business people attached to club would simply see it as lost revenue and it is big business so will this change….I fear not.
In conclusion – please follow your own mantra “For the Good of the Game”!