Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Rules Needed

photo by Unlisted Sightingsvia PhotoRee

farlieonfootie's Correspondent Ed has initiated a hunger strike until two new rules are incorporated by FIFA.  Given the light-speed at which FIFA moves, I'm thinking he'll be pretty thin by the time these are actually enacted....
It’s as good a time as any to suggest some new rules.  I know what you’re thinking:  “Egads!!! How can you possibly think of changing the beautiful game? !!! ”  Well, it’s happened before – I remember, for example, the days when “even was off” -- so I think it’s appropriate, but only so long as it’s done pursuant to the following conservative principles:

First, the change should be made only to rectify an egregious problem that affects the fairness or playability of the game.  Second, the change should occur only if it both materially alleviates the problem at hand, and has no more than an immaterial and collateral effect on the game as it stands.  Got it?  Okay, here are two potential rule changes for your careful review -- feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section, and I'll be sure to take them up with Sepp ("Der Blattermeister" to his friends) when I see him next.
1.  Post-match Dive Review.  Following each game, the game film should be reviewed to determine if any players fell to the ground with the intent of causing a penalty. 
      Players found to have done so will receive a post-game yellow for dives outside of the box, and a post-game red for dives in the box.  Suspensions from cards pursuant to the ordinary rules will continue to apply.  In tournament finals, fines should also apply.

Reason for Change: The diving has to stop.  Granted, La Liga simply screams for this change, but it would be a good thing for the EPL as well.  Players shouldn’t simply get away with the fake falls, and such are usually easily observable on tape.  Sure this review could occur at half time or during the game, but the point of the post-game review is to comply with the second principle – the minimal effect possible on the actual game.  Perhaps only in tournament finals should half-time review apply. 

Potential Unintended Consequence.  It is possible that the game will become more physical, but if handled properly it really shouldn’t.  A foul is a foul regardless of whether or not the player dives to the ground.  What we’re really after in this rule is the no-contact dives or the very minor contact dives, or the dives that occur significantly after what is only minor contact.

Example:  I think the line should be drawn at a fall like Berbatov’s in the box against Liverpool.  He was fouled, though lightly, and so I don’t think the dive was inappropriate.  But it was on the line and anything worse should be a yellow or red card, as the case may be.

2.  Mandatory Injury Time Out.  Any player that remains down from injury for more than thirty seconds shall be forced to leave the pitch for at least two minutes.

Reason for Change:  Like the Dive Review, this rule is intended to stop players from sprawling on the ground in fake pain (get the magic spray!) after contact in order to either (1) protect the player from a booking, or more commonly (2) cause the official to book the opponent.  By giving a power play to the opposition, players will try to stand up more quickly.  Those that stay down should, arguably, leave the pitch for their own health regardless.

Potential Unintended Consequence.  The worst potential consequence is that a player that is actually hurt but wants to return is unable to do so.  First of all, the player shouldn’t return if it was that bad (or is usually ineffective for a few minutes when it happens anyhow).  Second, two minutes is enough to think about it, but not enough to dramatically and materially affect the game.

Example:  Again from the United v. Liverpool game.  In addition to his time on the field, Michael Carrick should have had to stay out two minutes after the tackle.  Look, we all know he wasn’t really that hurt from the tackle....

This is farlieonfootie for January 14.


  1. Agree with these 2 changes.There should also be consideration given to,and experiments with,eliminating the offside rule.If anyone is interested,I will give my rationale

  2. I'm all ears -- what are you thinking....?

  3. Two reasons
    1) The offside rule originated around 100 years ago to prevent a forward 'goalhanging" at the opposition goal while a swarm of players were at the other end.Big hoof out of defence and its him and the (in those days very unprotected)goalkeeper.
    Does anyone over 7 years old play in such swarms these days?Modern tactics and fitness/mobility levels are totally different.
    Having said that,I am not certain what the effect of eliminating the rule would be-and I suspect nobody else is either-though I have had a few conversations with fans who think it would mean the end of western civilisation,or something akin to it.
    I think the smart way to aproach it is with some experiments(perhaps those annoying mid-season international friendlies could be one of the laboratories).
    My second reason for eliminating the offside rule is,I humbly suggest,unarguable.
    Referees have a difficult/impossible task trying to enforce all the rules with a bunch of very fast cheats(aka modern professional athletes).Removing the offside rule would,by definition,eliminate one source of wrong calls(offside)and presumably allow officials to focus more on other infractions,reducing wrong calls in other areas.
    Let the debate begin!