“A towel has immense psychological value” (Douglas Adams)*

By Walter Broeckx

I don’t like the ritual from Delap when he is going to take a throw-in.

On Sunday I watched the game and I have timed how much time it takes to get the ball back in play when Stoke City can take a throw and they let Delap do it. You have to take 30 to 45 seconds for a throw. This depends of course on what the score line is. When they are in front it takes more time than when they are behind. What a surprise.

The ritual goes as follows. Delap jogs over slowly as he knows this is his moment in the game. Everyone likes to be in the spotlight. This takes some 5 to 10 seconds. Then he gets the ball and a towel and starts polishing the ball like one can see some professional bowling players do.

This cleaning takes up to some 20 seconds and sometimes even longer. Then he turns to the field and makes the throw but this also can take up to some 10 seconds. You can understand that he sometimes needs to point at players to change position. Depending on the score line at that time, as you can imagine.

The questions that we hear is : is this legal ?  Is there anything in the rule book on this ? Can he clean the ball every time with those towels ?

And the answer is : there is nothing specific in the rule book to forbid this. A rule book is a book in which the basic principles are brought together and I can imagine that no inventor of the rules ever could have imagined that there would be a player who would act like this. So nothing has been said about the possibility of cleaning the ball with a towel every time to take a throw.

Maybe in a few years time the rules are adapted and it could be that the practice will be forbidden but now there is a gap in the rules as this is a thing that never happened before. One could say it is something like the rule that says you got to give a yellow card when a players celebrates a goal by pulling off his shirt. When the rules where written down it was unimaginable for a player to celebrate a goal by pulling off his shirt and wave it around.  It took a few years before Fifa reacted to this and now it is punished with a yellow card.

So it could be that in a few years time Fifa changes the rules and tells us that it is forbidden to clean the ball with a towel during the game or before taking a throw-in.

But for now the only thing a ref can do is to tell the team in advance that he will not allow it. The ref can do this he decides that the game should not be delayed by this event that takes some 20 seconds every time.

The only rule he can use to punish or forbid this is in the section of the rule book where they give instructions on how to deal with a deliberate delay in restarting the game when the ball has gone out of play or after a foul. In that section there is a list of events in which case a ref has to react and give a yellow card to a player when he is delaying the restart of the game. In that list of eventualities is one that says that in case of, “exaggerated delay when taken a throw-in or a free kick” the ref has to give the player a yellow card. It is the same thing as punishing a player that is pretending to take a throw and then hand the ball to another player. This is also an event that should be punished with a yellow card.

So it is all up to the ref to act. If he thinks it is not exaggerated and he uses it to take a rest himself  during the game, there is for the moment nothing that can be done about it. It is one of the tasks of a ref to keep the game going and to punish time wasting so he has to do it.  But for some reason refs don’t mind a bit of a rest during the game!

Editorial bits and pieces

* The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  (Don’t Panic).

And although I would never in a trillion years compare myself to the great man, you might like to read a pale imitation of the great man’s work in Making the Arsenal.

48 Replies to ““A towel has immense psychological value” (Douglas Adams)*”

  1. Walter, you know how much I value your contributions to this site, and how I always try to keep people on topic, but I do hope you excuse me by jumping in immediately with the observation that it is Egypt 3, Cameroon 1, which means…..

  2. Never mind the time it took for throw-ins,we did’nt turn up anyway,lets now concentrate on the two big prizes to come….

  3. Lol!Excellent,Song,Bentner and Eboue r back to save the season.Never thought i’d write that.

  4. I don`t see really what is the fuss all about this towel thing.By your own analisis you end up counting 20 seconds of wasted time.you see how meaning less is.
    The fact of the matter is Fabiansky did not deal with long throw.Ultimately it is hand throw not a screamer that is lashed at 120 m/h.No matter what i believe it is 100/% and defendible.To me is a simple coordination with defenders as the opposition side will try to block the movement of the keeper.
    Infact it is a boring tactic as they repeated time and time again.
    Leave alone please referee, the rules or fifa .We do not have players and specially a goalie who can deal properly on the day.

    I would rather suggest to analise about our defences and goalkeepers.

  5. Alex – this is not the typical blog where there is a stereotypical play by play recap of the game, a bit of moaning, and the same old themes rehashed over and over again by people who have very little idea about the game. Here we all know that we know very little about the game compared to Arsene Wenger and dont try and make it seem as if we do. We are under no illusions about our ability to run a football club. If you stay on here for awhile you’ll see things operate differently here.

    We know all too well that our defense made an absolute hash of things for all three goals. But what is our moaning going to do about that? Will our moaning achieve anything? Will management suddenly listen to us? Of course not. Besides, Delap has made a career out of his throw-ins, they have caught plenty of other teams as well. You make it sound as if we are the only team that has ever been caught out.

    Walter is a referee, and he looks at a lot of issues that have to do with the rules of the game. He isnt for a moment suggesting that we would have won had the referee dealt with Delap differently, he is merely clarifying the rules with regards to his use of the towel, which is in a definate grey area of the rules. It is something that effects all teams, not just us. Would you agree with a team being allowed to towel off a ball before taking a free-kick or penalty? No difference, except that one is ON the pitch and the other if OFF the pitch. Does that make a difference? It is all about personal opinion.

  6. Walter, I think Arsenal programmes should be printed with a huge bold cover printed in Red & White,

    “Don’t Panic.”

    I was watching the Stoke game with my martial arts teaching younger brother. He hates the hype, the circus that surrounds football, what with the drugs and other forms of ‘doping’ it’s hard to refute his opinions that football is more a farce then a sport. Fortunately I have been privileged to grow up near a club with the greatest manager in the modern game, running a club within an incredibly hostile environment, whilst staying true to the principles of sport, of football, and still competing at the highest level. When the commentator led slip his bile, I laughed and turned to my brother and he acknowledged that there must be something different about the Arsenal, the integrity of the club, that makes some hate the club with such an exaggerated & pathetic passion. Usually he just teases me for being an emotional fan, but there can be no doubt about the level of misinformation surrounding the club.
    I had to leave the pub I was watching the last Chelsea game in. It was full of Arsenal fans moaning about our brittle, 5’5″ foreign stars who aren’t strong enough to compete in the EPL, references to RVP, Walcott etc…we weren’t even ‘out-muscled in that game, it’s like they weren’t even watching the match.
    I used to think Neuro Linguistic Programming was a load of rubbish, but when I see the ease with which people are programmed by Sky Sports (A subsidiary of Rupert’s Murder Inc.), which AW commentated on this last week, I have to wonder.

    ‘West Porn’…very good!

    Maybe if they made the effort to bring some local youth players through they could change the name of the club to ‘Asian Babes’.

  7. A goalie who takes 25-30 seconds per goal kick is ultimately cautioned by the ref. Why not a player who takes 25-30 seconds per throw-in? There was even a point at which Delap sauntered over to the other side of the field, spent his usual 30 seconds drying the ball, and then threw it short to a teammate on his right.

    It’s time wasting, plain and simple, and the refs shouldn’t allow it.

  8. Alex as a ref I always try to look at things that concern referee decisions and every know and then I write an article about it. As a ref it is my duty to look at any time wasting in my games. Cleaning the ball with a towel is time wasting.

    The whole act when Stoke takes a throw-in costs more than 30 seconds (and more up to 45 seconds). And the normal time for a throw-in is somewhere between 1 (zero) and 5 seconds. So a throw from Stoke takes about 6 times longer than normal and sometimes almost 9 times longer than normal.

    Maybe the next step will be the use of a hairdryer ? Who knows ?

    Like I said, the ref must look after time wasting and this is time wasting.
    I never said that we would have won the game but the ball would have been some 7 to 8 minutes longer in the playing field I think if the ref would have said to Delap : no more towel cleaning or a yellow card will be your part.

    Maybe Arsenal should buy Delap I think it will take 3 weeks before the Fa declares that the towel cleaning is illegal and time wasting ? 😉

    And as an ex-goalkeeper I can say that it was the fault of Fabianski because he waited for the ball instead of coming to the ball. But it wasn’t Fabianski’s fault that we lost so much time with the throw-in ritual.

    Off topic: GREAT NEWS ABOUT CAMEROON!!!!! Sorry Alex but I think you understand.

  9. And it is my fault that I wrote know and it should have been NOW. Yellow card. 😉

    Oh and Fabianski, it happend to me also in my playing days. 🙁

  10. Only one way to stop this long throw nonsense is to have a very tall player like diaby stand in front of Delap when he’s about to launch the ball forward, I wonder what the ref would do then?

  11. There is plenty of negativity going round at the moment. It is a daily habit of mine to read the various arsenal blogs and make positive comments where comments are overly negative. That is the mandate I have set myself as an Arsenal supporter.

    Since yesterday however, I have completely steered clear of the arsenal blogs as I read a couple of them soon after the match and there were some seriously vicious attacks on the manager and a lot of the players who played against stoke.

    I read one comment and made a completely inappropriate response which was on the lines of the person who made the comment being completely immature and throwing temper tantrums. I then posted it and realised I was being the exact same way as this person. I was on the attack too. Then i realised that there is a complete disconnect with many fans and the reality of what Arsene Wenger is trying to achieve at this beloved club.

    How many fans are actually committed to Arsenal Football club in the long term and how many fans are just attached to the ego boost of being associated with a club that brings in trophies? I am sure things can be looked at from even more different points of view.

    The stoke match was a difficult game, stoke had their best 11 on the pitch and Arsenal had 1 first team regular (fabregas on the team) with the rest of the players being reserve players. Our reserve team doesnt do as well as it has been doing in the last few seasons where we reached the carling cup final and subsequently when we were beaten by spurs. The “B” team has become unstuck against Olympiacos, Man City and now Stoke. There is a similarity between all these matches in that they were all away fixtures. This may have an impact on the ability of our youngsters to cope with the opposition.
    I bet if we had the same XI against Stoke at the Emirates it would have been a different proposition.

    Now a question that can be asked is whether the team could have been stronger. They did ok until the team lost shape with the triple substitutions as we went out for the winner and got caught twice defensively on the flanks as our attack went out deep into opposition territory looking for a winner.

    There are signs of inexperience that had us be completely caught out against 2 decisive, powerful stoke attacks. Denilson did not have enough to track a charging Sidibe, fabianski stuck to his goal line in the hope that Campbell could clear the cross. Inexperience lost us the match and a lack of teamwork. A team of 11 players who have not played with eachother enough competitively in a football match where there is something at stake left them playing without the necessary cohesion to repel the 2 second half stoke attacks. these things happen, yet the response of some angry fans has been completely disproportionate to what has happened. But people dont understand is that things are the way they are for a reason, Portsmouth cant pay any creditors for a reason, Arsenal cant go and sign £40 million players for a reason etc.

    No one has even mentioned that tottenham were held at home, with a full strength team to a 2:2 draw against leeds.

    It will be great to have song and Eboue back in the team. Already the squad looks so much stronger with them!
    Every team has to lose a few matches now and again, the losses against chelsea and sunderland did help the team go on an impressive run of 6 wins and 2 draws. And i am hoping the loss to stoke helps kickstart a similar revival.

    Cant wait for Wednesday, I am looking at it as an opportunity for the team to go out there and win, and win like true fully committed and fired up red and white gladiators. C’mon Arsenal!

  12. To clarify, I didnt include Denilson and Walcott as first team players as I consider them (correctly/incorrectly) to be subs if we had a fully fit 1st 11. I would have Song, Nasri/Diaby and fabregas, Arshavin, Van Persie and Rosicky in midfield and attack (i havent included the back 4)

  13. A dry ball travels faster than a wet one (less friction) & takes
    a truer trajectory..clearly we should be towelling the ball for all of our spot kicks. LOL!!

  14. Walter,

    I always find it interesting what each poster/blogger brings to the table either when you write or when a poster posts. This article wasn’t any different. I found it enlightening that in the past/present you were/are both a ref and a keeper. It helps me shape my opinion moving forward about certain points of view. It is very instructive to me about the rules and the apparent waste of time presented by Stoke. To further the point we know Arsenal are a very quick team and that Stoke can’t handle even our so-called “B” team at that high rate. So it is conceivable that Pulis has exploited Delap for such an occassion. It would be interesting though what impact a ref could have on Stoke if he did warn Delap ahead of time. The funny thing is the only player on the pitch (actually off the pitch) afforded 8 minutes was Delap. I wonder what his wages are to be given such favoritism.
    Maybe Delap could make a video of his time wasting over a season and gift wrap it and send it to the FA. Better yet maybe one of our bloggers who is YouTube savvy can gather all video footage of every game this season when Delap throws it in and show via clock how much time was wasted in the 09/10 season to make the point! Just my thoughts.

  15. Andy P…completely agree with you that there’s far too much negativity around the Arsenal blogs. People need to get real about this “they hav’nt won anything for 5 years” nonsense, which is peddled by the TV pundits & journalists & used as a stick to beat Arsene Wenger with. Ask Cesc or RVP (or O’neil, Rednap, Mancini, Benitez etc etc) whether they want to win the 2010 Carling & FA cup, or qualify for Champions League football next year. Of course they’d prefer to be doing all three but given the choice??? I believe that the majority of Arsenal fans think the same way too.

  16. Excellent points Andy p, although I think Denilson is more than a reserve. He offers a lot to the team in terms of balance and keeping the ball moving. He has an eye for interceptions and has now added goals to his repertoire. I think his injury interrupted season means that we have not seen the best of him this time around as he has been stop/start and not able to get into a rhythm. But a fully match fit Denilson has plenty to offer in the right games. I would say the same for Theo and Carlos Vela. They just need a run of games and a little more maturity.

  17. @AndyP & Wilsheres dad;

    So don’t read those antagonists words stay here and actually learn some things…We are all insightful!

  18. Paul C.My understanding on the towel thing is that legal.Not because i know the rules but it came to my attention with the introduction of Stoke.That means since last season and now we are in the second half of the current one.I assume the rule makers they are well aware of the fact therefore i assume it is with in the law.Having said that i believe is left to REFEREES.And if i have to speak from my heart to expect to come anything in favour to Arsenal from referees in the premier league no chance.Is it a bad luck or there is something fishy i don`t know.
    Hope you understand me and sorry for posting late as i was watching the Zambia v Nigeria match.By the way the Zambian have plenty of arsenal like.Love the way they play and sad they didn`t make but happy to continue the nigerian as they got some chelsiscki.
    Cheeeeeeeers !!!!!!!!

  19. This towel business has the potential to become boring. The referees, to my knowledge, can us their own discretion on time wasting. If the player persits just give the ball to the other side.
    Full stop.

  20. I always love (o.k. actually hate) the mandatory 6+ steps down the field the thrower has to take from where the ball actually went out as he scans the field for his target.
    Rarely does the ref or linemen do anything about it as a ball that seemingly went out down towards one box ends up with a throw from the halfway-line.

  21. Walter, nice one. I have another one for you: There should be some type of card shown for being utterly boring! May be this time instead of the players, it should be awarded for the coaches. I was really bored every time Stoke had the ball, not just throw ins. I would close my eyes and say okay, pass the ball backwards a couple of times and launch a long one, a hell-merry, into the box and hope to scrape up the left overs. This type of play is important to Blackburn, Notlob, Hull City, and Stoke. It is a scalp that would help build their coaching repertoire. I’m sure they will bore their grand children to death telling their strategy until they discover it was simple inferiority complex.

  22. I think the rule could be changed in line with the goalkeeper’s six-second rule. Once the ‘thrower’ has the ball in his hand, he then has six seconds to release it. If he fails, the throw is automatically given to the opposing team.
    I also think they should ban outside assistance, i.e. no towel or rag etc. Players can obviously use their shirts to dry the ball if they wish – but nothing from off the pitch can be used.

    On another note – I love this site because they bloggers and posters are serious, long-term, and intelligent supporters with a great sense of humour, who are devoted to the club through thick and thin.

    I have supported The Arsenal for 40 years, man and boy. I can’t tell you how excited I am with our football in the last decade and Andy b is right about the nonsense regarding not winning anything for five years. So what – this is a work in progress and there are so many team, fans, and pundits etc, who are seriously jealous at what AW has created here.

    I also note that the majority of the D&G brigade on other sites, i.e. the ones who call for AW’s head after every loss, all seem to write in intelligible text language. Now I might be adding two and two, and not making four, but I would guess they are the young glory hunters referred to by a previous poster!!!


    Nice piece. I was expecting you to write something about that.

    That towel fiasco still bugs me. I’m surprised Arsene Wenger hasn’t brought it up (though if he had, the media would have had a field day mocking him).

    The Douglas Adams quote is classic. “Don’t Panic” because “There’s only one Song!”

    (He should be back for the Man U game, shouldn’t he?)

  24. @ Hartwick89 —

    The YouTube compilation idea is brilliant. There should also be one of fouls against Arsenal inside the box or of “Hacking Cesc Fabregas”

    My bet is that Wenger’s tireless backroom staff have already made these compilations…if only they could leak them them to a few fans…

  25. You guys have it all wrong.

    Its all Almunia’s fault. He let in all three goals.

    Haven’t you been reading the script by the daily rags, the assorted “Arenal” blogs and pundits?

  26. @Tim,
    My creativity usually kicks in when I am frustrated with the cheater Pulis! Him and his cap and glasses. No wonder Beattie hates him…

  27. The Delap throw is akin to a corner. A delay happens as the teams completely change their formation. A further delay sometimes occurs after a corner when the attacking team passes the ball back to the goalie in order to give the team time to regain its shape.

    Is the loss time for a Delap throw worse than that at a corner? Seem much the same to me.

    There should be a time limit for throw ins, corners and goal kicks.

  28. Steve d, good proposition. Take a throw-in within lets say 6 seconds after the ball is in their hands or the ball goes to the opposition. Nice idea, I like it.
    Like Wilshere’s dad says, (how is your son btw?) a dry ball travels faster and what would a ref do if you got a penalty and the taker would take the ball out before taking it and dry the ball with a towel ? I bet that he would be booked and yet he does the same as Delap does: wasting time.

    If Delap takes 10 throws in a game this means that you have lost some 6 minutes of playing time, if you take around 35 seconds average time to take his throw.

    The reason Wengers doesn’t speak about it is because we have to play them in the PL, with a full squad at that time. I really hope that when we take the lead in that game and we have a throw to take the Arsenal players all will be asking for a towel to clean the ball for some 2 minutes and then throw the ball to a nearby player. Well that would be my instructions if I would be Wenger. 😉

  29. Jazbo, you have to take a distance of 2 meter from the player that does the throw-in.
    What you could do is to have a player there who jumps (at the distance of 2 meter) at the moment Delap throws. If it hits his head the ball will end up somewhere but not at the goal. It will have as a result that Delap has to make a correction and has to throw with another angle and the ball would travel slower.

  30. Only problem with that Walter, is that jumping in front of the thrower eventually gets you a yellow card for ungentlemanly conduct!
    Obviously this form of time wasting is legal…so it’s one that we should keep in mind for times such as we’re 1-0 up and down to 10 men!
    Doubt if we’ll ever see it as that’s not the Arsenal way (sometimes… such as the 4-4 with the spuds last season, we could / should definitely have used it.)

  31. GF60, not if you keep the 2 meter distance. There you could stand on your head if you want to the ref cand do nothing about that. Well he could if you would stand on your head… 😉

    If Stoke should stay in the PL next season I would bring on the towels from the Armoury when we play in the Emirates and when we have the lead I would use those towels every time….. But that is just my bad character showing as for AW he never would do or tell his players to do such a thing. But would be funny…. Maybe a one mans action from a player ? It would test the ref and maybe force the Fa in to action ?

  32. In January 2006 we went out of the FA Cup at Bolton, having not long before gone out of the League Cup against Wigan. Four months later we were in Paris playing Barcelona in the Champions League Final.

    In the next three seasons we progressed further in the domestic cups but not as far in Europe.

    Just a thought.

  33. Alex there is an old wisdom (?) once said to me that goes: what is not explicit forbidden is allowed. But what the towel thing does is take time away from the game and therefore it is against the spirit of the game which wants the ball to be in play as much as possible. It is a new form of time wasting.
    It also is against the spirit of the game in which you can not take advantage of something from outside the playing field and in this case the towel is used to change something and therefore the ref can forbid it. If the towel had no purpose then why should they use it ? or is it just for the time wasting?
    So it is not literally forbidden in the law book but it is from whatever angle you look at it against the spirit of the law.

  34. So as always the Untold crew has sorted it out. We buy a 7 feet tall player to stand in front of the thrower for each throw in, and the ref has a blue card which he shows to the captain of the team if he feels they are getting too boring.

    Brilliant – I shall write to the FA at once. Watch out for further news on this campaign in the coming days, weeks, years….

  35. To give you an exaggerated example on something that is not forbidden but when you are a ref you should take action.
    Nowhere in the rules is said that it is forbidden to hang up a mirror in the stadium. So if a team would hang up a mirror from 10 suare meters somewhere the Fa can do nothing about it.
    But when you use that mirror to catch the sun and to direct the sunbeams in to the face of the keeper of the opposition to distract him than the ref should act and have the mirror covered.
    One could say it is legal as it is not forbidden in the rule book but you take advantege of something outside the playing field and it is clearly against the spirit of the game.

    The spirit of the game… Walter, you sound old-fashioned… 😉

  36. @ alex

    ur still clueless, aren’t u????this is a blog where bloggers try to distract fans from any humiliating defeat faced by arsenal(oh ya, losing to stoke 3-1 is humiliating)….they will blame injuries, financial doping,refrees and now lol lol lol :-D, towel boy….i just can’t stop laughing…they shud be writing that it was bound to happen b’coz the team lacks enough steel and depth……let’s admit it- TO BE CHAMPIONS U GOT TO HAVE MUSCLE OF CHAMPION……

  37. @ neutral fan ..

    You should apply for name change.. because clearly in most of yourposts, you aint neutral at all.

  38. Thanks for good article Walter, and I quite sure Delap “game” will be forbidden sooner SAF start complaining about it, or once he fail to bring him in Manure.

    @neutral fan
    I don’t know which sport you talking about and muscles, but it has to be or a)boxing, or b)American football. As far as I know, and know little about footballing (and not American one), there were no “champions” with muscles, because that kind of game is reserved for team fighting to stay above relegation zone.
    If we talking about football as world wide phenomena, and except maybe Estonian, Georgian, etc league I am watching all approachable by TV or Internet, I hardly can remember any team which boxed to title (except in boxing).
    Greatest teams of world including there world champions (except England 1966)were pure technical teams.

    Second thing I am wandering…how much really you know about footballing. I guess you understand that some people support Stoke, Hull, Portsmouth and believe and love their teams. I guess no one of them is idiot who cant see who is better on field, they still support their teams and you can really rare hear anyone say “ah better team beat us”.
    Is it wrong? No its natural thing which come from being supporter. Becaming suporter you forever give up from being objective. And if you can be objective, than you shoudl really consider do you really suport your team. Same caunt for every segment of life, incuding my wife, who is (for me) most beautiful woman on planet. Does it mean I am blind, no it only mean I love her. Same as I love Arsenal, now you shoudl ask your self do you love Arsenal.

    And at the end, litle bit about humiliation… what is humiliating in one premier league team beat other premier league team. Isnt it in nature of game. Does everyione play to win, and what gives us right to believe and want victory more than Stoke. If things are different, we would not play championship or cups at all. We would have some kind of elections, who have better players, whose players are fancier and like in figure scatting have winner by “art impression”.

  39. Neutral fan I think we have to just agree to disagree on the issues you raise.

    This site was set up because I felt there were many Arsenal sites that were totally negative, and that it was important that there should be one site that is totally pro-Wenger. I make the point clear at the top of the page – we support Wenger.

    I do not seek to put forward a balanced point of view, because you can get the contrary view in hundreds of places. I might also say that the sites we tend to call “doom and gloom” don’t have a balanced point of view either.

    It is in fact just like the press – you are hardly going to get a balanced view of the world reading the Daily Mail or indeed by watching Fox News.

    So, I think it is fair to say, the readership here understand your point of view, but we disagree with it, and so I am not sure that we can go much further.

    If I may take one point, the general view here is that the debt of Arsenal is utterly different from that of Man U and Liverpool. You say it is not (“the debt is still there”). OK, we’ve had the debate, but that’s it.

    You are not going to convince us with a simple statement – and
    so I think you should respect the nature of this forum. Of course you are free to make your comments, but please don’t make the same comments repeatedly when you know they are counter to the whole ethos of this site.

  40. Legislating against the long throw seems as pointless as legislating against a long kick. As people have said, all teams need to be able to defend against the long throw just as much as against corners and free kicks. The defending team generally has more players in the area and one of them is allowed to use his hands! The time wasting over the throw is an issue though and should be dealt with.

    One thing the law makers could look at though is pitch size. Stoke’s official pitch size was about the same as ours – 75 yards/68 metres width which since 2008 has been the standard requirement for international matches. When Stoke realised what Delap could do they reduced their pitch width to 70 yards/64 metres (the old international minimum), bringing the sidelines 7.5 feet/2 metres nearer the goal and this is completely legal in England. There are lots of things home sides can do that help create “home advantage” – Lord Wenger’s fondness for watering the pitch at half-time being an obvious one – so this is not a clear cut issue. Some older grounds couldn’t contain the new international standard size and would require special dispensation if used for UEFA/FIFA competitions.

    What do people think? Should the proverbial level playing field mean a standard sized pitch?

  41. i’ve posted this elsewhere but it is relevant to this blog:
    lots seems to be have talked about Delaps ball towelling.I might be wrong but didn’t he seem to polish the ball more on the front side than back and I’m sure he was snidely unpicking the seams.

  42. To put one thing clear I have nothing against a long throw itself. It is the towel thing I really would tolerate on my playing field or should I say outside my playing field.

    Btw the ref is also the boss in the area outside the field (neutral zone) so he can give instructions on what is allowed in there and what not.

  43. I can give my self a second yellow card it should read: It is the towel thing I really would NOT tolerate on my playing field or should I say outside my playing field.

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