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World Football For other football that's not related to Depor. For example: the Primera División, Segunda División A, Segunda División B, the Champions League, EURO 2008, the World Cup 2010, Italy, England, Germany, Turkey etc.

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Old 09-05-2006, 10:57   #1
Jorge
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Default How to make football beautiful again...

With cheating and negativity rampant, football urgently needs video evidence, bigger goals and sin bins,

The ultimate argument for technology
.

If the alarm bells at Fifa HQ didn't start ringing when Greece suffocated and stifled their way to Euro 2004 glory, or when France's Ligue 1 suffered its lowest ever average goal tally in 2004-05, they should have begun furiously ding-a-linging last week.

The Champions League semi-finals contained three of the most vibrant, attacking teams in Europe - Barcelona, Arsenal and AC Milan - and possibly the four best players in the world - Andriy Shevchenko, Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho. We should have drooled over football for the ages, not endured a fandango of shirt-pulling, freefalling and injury-feigning, with only two goals in 360-odd minutes.

But negativity has again become the new orthodoxy; just like it did in the late 1970s and pre-backpass rule 1990s. The average number of goals is slip-sliding down across Europe, a stifling variant of 4-5-1 grows ever more ubiquitous, and no amount of Fifa edicts or tabloid fury has stopped simulation or jersey-tugging.
In the past, when football's delicate balance between attack and defence has spun out of kilter, the authorities have stepped in. Not this time. But the rules need a makeover, and they need them now.

A brief history lesson


Forget what the traditionalists tell you: football's laws have always been tinkered with, almost from the moment they were formulated by the FA in a dingy London pub in 1863. They've had to be; for players and managers can be a cynical, conniving, cheating breed. It's their job to win - how they get there is largely irrelevant. But let's not get too Daily Mail about this: when the stakes are high, it's foolish to expect Presbyterian morality.

The history of football rules is one of exploitation, followed, several years later, by correction. Until 1891, for instance, there were no referees or penalties, because it was assumed that a gentleman would never intentionally foul. Instead players would appeal to, then debate with, touchline umpires for justice. But by the 1870s, players were making "vexatious and unmeaning calls [for fouls] ... on the most frivolous pretexts," according to the Sportsman, a popular paper of the day. A decade later, the argument for neutral on-field referees had become overwhelming, and the laws were changed.

Rules have also been altered to make football more exciting. As far back as 1925 the offside rule was ripped up after fears the game was becoming too defensive. The result? Total goals scored in the English leagues rose from 4,700 to 6,373 in one season. More modern changes - red cards for professional fouls and no tackling from behind (to combat Claudio Gentile, Vinnie Jones and their ilk), and the revised backpass rule (introduced after a World Cup-record low of 2.21 goals per game in Italia 90) - have all come after this same process: exploitation, then correction.

Recently, however, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), the body responsible for the game's laws, has downplayed or ignored issues such as diving, negative football and the potential impact of technology, in favour of mangling the offside law. Again. Not that Fifa president Joseph Blatter, one of the game's if-it-ain't-broke brigade, is concerned. He recently praised Ifab for its "stable and steadying influence" and "conservative approach".

So what should be done?

An obvious starting point is that current media obsession, simulation (if only to stop hacks like me going on about it) - along with shirt-pulling, feigning injury and other variants of the game's dark arts. Retrospective punishments, as suggested by Fifa, don't work: would you care about a one-match ban if a cynical swan dive in the World Cup final earned your side the winning penalty?

No. The only solution is instant video evidence for every top-flight and international match.

Introduce such technology, and immediately the risk v reward debate which zips around a player's head changes: there'd be no incentive to dive when someone in the stands can alert the referee, who would soon be waving yellow in your direction. And why pretend to be punched, when in 30 seconds' time you'd be receiving red for play-acting?

Technology would also help officials, not undermine them. Just look at cricket. The truth is, despite Fifa's almost-Catholic belief in the infallibility of referees, mistakes are legion - mistakes that ruin games and alter the history of teams and tournaments. Things may even out over a season, but they rarely do so over the course of a match.

Ah, splutter the luddites: wouldn't technology slow the game down? Perhaps, but not by much. The ball is only in play for 60-odd minutes, and double-checking contentious decisions - a goal-line clearance, penalty or offside appeal - would add seconds not minutes.

Clearly there's a balance to be struck between maintaining the flow of the game, and making the right decision but if other sports can do it, so can football. Ultimately, it boils down to what is preferable: a 30-second delay in play, or the Hand of God? Getting it right, or allowing cheats to get away with it?

One further suggestion: barely a big game goes by without someone feigning injury in the last 10 minutes, wasting two or three minutes and vaccinating an opponent's momentum. Is it too much to ask for an official stadium clock, like in rugby union, that comes to a halt every time there's a prolonged stoppage?

Goals, goals, goals

But it's not just simulation that needs addressing; stimulation does too. It's too easy for teams to stick 10 men behind the ball and grind out a result; ideal for the likes of Greece and Porto - not so exciting for anyone else.

That's not to denigrate great defending. When practised by the Baresis and Desaillys of this world, it's a rare art - and should be celebrated as such. But it's about balance. When a makeshift Arsenal defence featuring a novice centre-back and a central-midfielder-cum-left-back goes 10 Champions League games without conceding a goal, this art has become too easy.

Another worrying trend is that, the more important the match, the tighter it usually gets. In the 2002 World Cup there were just 25 goals in 15 knockout games (excluding the irrelevant third-placed play-off) and just one enthralling, edge-of-your seat humdinger - Italy v South Korea (a match also blighted by poor refereeing). It was a similar story in Euro 2004 - just 13 goals in seven knockout matches - and in this season's Champions League (14 goals in 12 matches from the quarter-finals onwards). Domestically, the pattern holds true too: only four of 16 games this season between Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have had three or more goals.

No one wants to see football turn into basketball. But the flip side - 90 minutes of turgid tedium is even more repellent. As Michel Hidalgo, the manager who led Michel Platini's France to a glorious Euro 84 title, puts it: "We must find ways to encourage audacious players and we must fight goalless games. It is goals that leave their mark on the memory."

The obvious - and most contentious - way to do this is by increasing the size of the goals. It might smack of SoccerBall USA, but why not? After all, the average man stood at just 5ft 2in tall in the latter part of the 19th century when goalpost sizes were laid down in law - while the average Premiership keeper is now 6ft 3in. At the very least you could test it at semi-professional level, with perhaps a minor adjustment to move the posts six inches higher and a yard wider.

Another highly-flammable suggestion - sin bins - also deserves serious consideration. The almighty gap between a yellow and red card actually makes it rational for defenders to body-check, scythe and take out opponents in promising positions, picking up a professional yellow, because conceding a goal is far worse. That can't be right. The possibility of 20 minutes in the sin bin - with a yellow card chucked in - for cynical fouls would change a player's incentives and, ergo, their behaviour too.

Bigger goals? Sin bins? These aren't ideas that most football purists will rush to embrace. But then neither was the backpass rule. When it was first introduced in 1992, every professional in the land reckoned it would ruin the game - because keepers would be toe-punting it long at every opportunity. Impending doom was forecast. Instead goals went up, because the ball was in play far longer, and keepers became more adept at controlling a football. Six months later what had seemed unworkable had become matter-of-fact normal.

Final thought


In a month's time, the 2006 World Cup will kick off. Hopefully it will rank as a classic: one that sits smugly alongside Mexico 86, Spain 82 and Mexico 70 in the pantheon. But, on the evidence of recent tournaments, another scenario is more likely: two weeks of football that entices and enthrals before, on the day the knockout stages arrive and the stakes are racked upwards, a cold caution takes hold.

If this happens, managers and players will be blamed. Wrongly, in my opinion. Their job is solely to win, not entertain. The real culprits would be Fifa and its rulemaking arm, Ifab. They must be football's policemen: prosecuting the cheats and encouraging good behaviour. In the past, they've been like a village bobby - slow and dim-witted, to be sure, but usually getting there in the end. No longer. And while ultra-professionalism continues to choke romance and risk-taking, football will be the poorer for it.
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:24   #2
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Video evidence yes, Technology to help refs yes.
Bigger goals and sin bins nope, leave that to the Americans!!!!

Football is also about the skill of defending, everyone seems to forget that and think that it is just purely scoring loads of goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:26   #3
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Also the people that make/change the rules should be changed themselves as they are a group that was set up when football started and includes the English, Welsh and N.Ireland FA with a FIFA rep !!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:36   #4
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Video evidence gets a big thumbs down from me because the game would have to be stopped every 10 seconds and it would be very reminicent to American Football. I don't think there is a lack of goals but there is certainly a lack of free flowing football because players go down so easily in order to get free-kicks and I don't blame the referees one little bit because of this. Players are so good at conning the referees that at times you don't know if a player is injured or if he is faking it. Stupid 'rules' like kicking the ball out when a player is 'injured' really annoys me and if it was up to me the game would only be stopped if a player had blood pouring out of his head. I think the only thing that can be done without ruining the game would be to have officials (or some other authority) look at every incident after a match and brandish bookings for cheating, even if it meant a player had about 20 booking after a game. The only way to punish the player, the club and the manager would be to have them banned because of thier diving.
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Old 09-05-2006, 19:37   #5
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I know its annoying but crap refs are just part of the game. I think the effort should be in their formation and that they could take it seriously. If we try to analyse all the wrong decissions from the refs it would loose all the spice. It would be like a machine controlling that you do well when you are having s ex, it would loose all!
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Old 09-05-2006, 19:41   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julen
I know its annoying but crap refs are just part of the game. I think the effort should be in their formation and that they could take it seriously. If we try to analyse all the wrong decissions from the refs it would loose all the spice. It would be like a machine controlling that you do well when you are having s ex, it would loose all!

I agree, I think it's part of the charm of football that a 23'd player is included - with all the flaws he might have.
However, I agree with the Croc that divings, faking injuries and other childish shit (such as standing in front of the ball when the opponents have a free kick) should be dealt with, if one such act would automatically merit a suspension, it would dissapear rather swiftly.
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Old 09-05-2006, 22:06   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabian
that divings, faking injuries and other childish shit (such as standing in front of the ball when the opponents have a free kick
That's what Nike means with "jogo Bonito"
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Old 09-05-2006, 22:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julen
That's what Nike means with "jogo Bonito"

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Old 10-05-2006, 17:59   #9
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Instead of round posts, I'd make them square posts That would give for some funny moments. Plus it would actually be more fair. Assume a diagonal shot towards a post bounes away from the goal, that is the most annoying thing there is for a striker IMO. Well, with square posts it would actually be more 50/50 With square posts the same shot would deflect in. And if you shoot to far from the goal itself and it hits the post, the ball won't go in.

I know what I'm talking about, I once played a 90 minute football game with square posts And afterwards we just shot a bit at a post to see which direction the ball takes
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Old 11-05-2006, 09:24   #10
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I think Fifa should start by using electronics to judge the offside... It is really easy and this could give some more goals pr. game. If they dont want to use any electronics than use a parrot it will out perform the linemen simple by getting 50% right...


And lets make one thing clear it is not the coaches challeging the ruling on the field that slows up the NFL it is all the comercial and play braks.

Thanks for a great subject!!!!
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Old 11-05-2006, 14:42   #11
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Why not give each team a set number of allowable video reviews per game? If a coach feels his team is getting it up the poop-shoot too hard they can demand a video review. Up to.... say... 3 times per game. This way they have to be a bit more judicious in how much review they ask for and when. I know I don't want to see a game stopped every few minutes for video review. But the officials are only human and this allows a team to review the important plays whithout it getting heavy handed.
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Old 12-05-2006, 19:08   #12
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The electronics is destroying the game in my eyes! Soon, there wont even be a referee on the pitch. It's sad to see foorball die by so much electronics. I know it's not funny when you get a goal cancelled by offside, but it's a part of the game.
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Old 12-05-2006, 21:12   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeypuncher
If a coach feels his team is getting it up the poop-shoot too hard they can demand a video

Ohhhh Matron!!!
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Old 14-05-2006, 11:52   #14
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NO NO AND NO!!!

those changes will make football ugly! those changes ESPECIALLY VIDEO EVIDENCE will SLOW down the game so much and that will help defensively minded teams such as your example of greece!

the beautiful free flowing game that some nations play and everyone loves will die if video evidence is introduced!

as for bigger goals and sin bins? again thats a no! i think the sin bin rule is terrible! and will reward teams for bad behaviour! as refs will get more lenient and instead of showing reds they will send to sin bin as its not as bad and thus wont be scrutinised as much!

bigger goals? simply not necesary!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge
Just look at cricket. The truth is, despite Fifa's almost-Catholic belief in the infallibility of referees, mistakes are legion - mistakes that ruin games and alter the history of teams and tournaments.

Cricket - the reason it can be done there is that 1 game takes 10 hours or 5 days so it doesnt matter. football is free flowing! THIS WOULD SLOW DOWN AND KILL EXCITEMENT!!

- also take care in what you post please i dont think the catholic call was entirely necesary.

the only solution for simulation is what culina said to do - red card divers! soon players will be too concerned with diving and wont! people may say "oh refs will make a mistake etc.." but its the only way.

video evidence is often inconclusive and too close to call and thus would just slow the game down for no reason. Australia uses it in eugby league and union and it slows the game down in soccer it would NOT work!

other technologies ok but NOT video evidence please!
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Old 16-05-2006, 12:19   #15
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Well I don't have the stats handy right now, but look at how many minutes the ball IS ACTUALLY IN PLAY during a match nowadays, I'd say its usually not more then 45 minutes per match. So THER'D BE ARE ALREADY AROUND 45 MINUTES of time per match available that could be used to at least don't suffer under wrong ref. decisions...

With a digital Video Recorder it would mostly be just a matter of seconds to take a clear decision, they already have 4 refs on the pitch, add one more just sitting behind a digital PVR with a display, connect him to the new com-system refs are wearing lately in euro competitions and I really believe it would help more to the game, then you might think that it would take time and disturb the flow of the game...

With most wrong decisions the match is interrupted anyway and if the ref takes a wrong decision there is discussion and/or rotting together of players on the pitch until the freekick/penalty whatever is taken, this timeframe could be substantially smaller if theres a guy saying 'Nah' or 'Yeah' over the wireless microfone to the Ref on the pitch...

And for Colinas idea of red cards for divers: GO FOR IT TOO!!
Successfull diving would become an serious art and most players probably wouldn't even try to master it... so the probability to take a wrong decision when one is down in the Area would decrease too...
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