By Tony Attwood
As far as I know, the English media has not picked up on this story that has broken from Fifa HQ in Switzerland. Therefore my use of the word “exclusive” might be a slight exaggeration, but “Exclusive in the UK” seemed a bit cumbersome. And you never know, there have been the odd occasions where we got there first.
Anyway, that’s the technicality. Here’s the story.
Marco van Basten is the new technical director of FIFA and the story is that he has it in mind to change some of football’s rules.
Introducing the shoot-out
Marco van Basten wants to replace extra time with an improved shootout. This idea is inspired directly by ice hockey and he explains the situation thus:
“Each team would have five attempts. The referee whistles and the player starts a distance of 25 metres from the goal. He then has eight seconds to get the ball in the net or for the keeper to save it.” After that it is all over.
During this “shoot-out”, the player can shoot, dribble or await upon the reaction of the goalkeeper, who would not be allowed to leave the penalty area. It would be much more spectacular than a simple penalty, according to Mr van Basten.
The end of the offside
This is an innovation that could upset some purists, and Marco van Basten has admitted that he recognises this. “But I’m sure the teams will be able to adapt,” was his simple reply. Discussions between referees or players’ challenges would no longer happen – there simply would be no offside. However van Besten admits that the has some way to go to convince all of Fifa that this is a good notion.
Certainly off side has changed since its inception with three players needing to be behind the ball, down to two and then one.
The end of the yellow cards
You may recall that just a few days back Untold sneaked this idea in – with the replacement of yellow cards by a sin bin. Now you know where it came from. Van Basten proposes to replace the yellow cards by sin bins for what he calls “tactical faults”. The argument is that the 10 minute in the sin bin would act as a much greater restraint on players than the yellow card which seems to have a limited effect on most players.
He would also like to limit the number of times a player can be given a sin bin exclusion from the field of play. As he says, “As in basketball, where a player can only have five faults. Then he goes out. “
Marco van Basten has also made it clear that he is aware that he must prepare the ground for this kind of revolution of the game saying, “We have to go step by step. I speak with coaches, players and managers. I ask them their opinion and what they consider good for football and how they see the future of their sport.”
Do remember where you first read it. Or if someone else has broken the story while I was typing this up, just forget it and accept my apologies.
But if the UK media pick up on it after 18 January, then yep, we got there first.
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