By Walter Broeckx
As it is the FIFA-hurt-your-players-week we could take a look at what a member said a few days ago.
We all know the tactics used by some teams where some teams will even resort to sending signals from the bench to players to stay on the ground, ask for treatment and then as soon as the game resumes they are reborn just as if Jesus Christ himself was the one that cured him by miracle.
By such a tactic the team wins over a minute of valuable time which all too often is not won back at the end of the game.
Another time wasting method that drives me mad is the goalkeeper. I think you can see it every home game in the Emirates as long as it’s 0-0 or even worse 0-1. Arsenal produces an attack but the ball goes wide.
As soon as the ball goes over the line the goalkeeper doesn’t look for the ball. No, he first runs the whole length off the pitch to point out to an attacker that it was him that lost the ball and then he goes to all his midfielders pointing where they should have been running, what they should have done, then goes to his defenders to tell them that their defending was bad because you didn’t do this an you did do that, meanwhile asking them what they would like to drink in the bar after the game.
After telling every player what he has done wrong and taking the orders, he looks behind the goal and aaaaah look there is the ball. He then walks as if it was a Sunday afternoon with bright sunshine and if he was walking with his wife and kids in the park towards that ball, checks if the ball has still enough air in it.
Looks for a spot to put the ball and it has to be precise because you don’t want to miss kick the ball don’t you. After 7 attempts finally a decent enough spot is found.
Then you go to the goalpost. Kick some mud off his shoes, and again because there still was one little bit of grass on his shoe. Then he looks up the pitch and sees that the players are not in the right place so he has to adjust that and you can’t believe it but those players get the message wrong and he has to adjust it once more. This can take a few minutes and when you are lucky the ref makes a signal, which the keeper didn’t see because he was too busy giving his instructions.
(May I say that the Spanish ref in the game at Standard was very good in dealing with this situation because after 5 minutes the keeper of Standard tried to pull this off but from his first attempt the ref warned him and a few minutes later he got a yellow card so he had to stop this game. )
Here’s another thing that irritates me, (and yes I saw Manonne do it against Fulham, but I really hate it and would like to see it come to an end). When the ball goes to the goalkeeper he takes the ball with his feet to one end of the box, very slowly off course, and then he waits for an attacker to come over and then he puts his hands 2 mm away from the ball and waits and then finally picks up the ball. Some keepers even manage to put the ball back on the ground and wait some extra seconds before they actually kick the ball.
Last week, FIFA vice president Jack Warner, not an unspoken person himself, said that it would be a good idea to send a player that simulates a severe injury off the field for 5 minutes. It also is used in rugby I was told although I’m not sure about the rugby situation.
Now would this help football in general, and also help teams like Arsenal, that try to play to win a game by playing football and which don’t try to park the bus in front of goal and try not to lose, by any means?
I think it could prevent time wasting with the injury tactics. But as pointed out this is only one of 3 general time wasting manners teams use.
I’m not a FIFA vice president but I think there could be a solution for the other time wasting by goalkeepers also. In CL games there are as many balls as there are ball boys or girls so when the ball goes past the goal the ball can be in the hands of the keeper within a few seconds.
Maybe the 4th ref can use a stopwatch from the moment the ball is back in the playing field, put there by the ball boy and then the keepers gets 10 or 15 seconds to put the ball in play. If he doesn’t succeed a corner would be given to the other team. I bet the goal keeper would run his ass off to put the ball back in play.
The other situation described is even simpler to deal with. When the ball goes to the goalkeeper and he can take it in his hands (ie not a back pass) he has to make an immediate decision: use his hands and then has to kick within 6 seconds (that rule still exist) or not use his hands and then he cannot pick it up anymore and can only use his feet. Not many keepers would take the risk of dribbling an attacker and they will choose to kick it up field to avoid a major blow to their team.
I think it would benefit the attacking teams and be a major blow for the park the bus teams that use every second to stop the game from being played. After all we pay a lot of good money to see football being played and not to see the “art of time wasting” being practiced.
Walter is a passionate Arsenal follower since 1979 from Flanders, Belgium. Since a couple of years he is the main news reporter for the Arsenal fans in Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg where he tries to bring them a daily portion of Arsenal news. His passion for football goes so far that he even is a referee. In the real world he is married, has 4 children including some Gooners, and he works as a civil servant in a small town and provides building permissions.
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