I have a crazy suggestion for a new rule that might improve the game.
One of the things I love about football is that the rules (pretty much) are simple. Obviously there can be problems when referees don’t see particular incidents, and there are a couple of grey areas which will always come down to interpretation, but unlike other football codes we don’t need to be constantly adjusting the rules to cope with coaches manipulating the grey areas and one percenters.
The grey areas that do exist in football are mainly about making a call in the box that leads to a penalty. I’ve written several times about the handball rule (has to be intentional dudes) and there’s also the trip (was it or wasn’t it?). And of course, the whole thing is complicated by the consequence. To make the call means a penalty kick, which is almost certainly a goal.
Goals are worth a lot in football, after all. Just one determines a game so referees can be wary of making decisions – especially at the end of close or important games, or where a foul technically happened but no goal scoring chance was imminent (say a late clip in the corner of a crowded box).
What if the ref had the option of giving a different kind of penalty? Taken from the edge of the area perhaps. Class A penalties (12 yards) would be for clear cut offences and Class B penalties (18 yards) would be for those less clear cut (re hand ball intent perhaps) or reflective of the low likelihood of scoring at the time the foul happened.
Obviously, the details would need to be ironed out, but it would certainly add to the spectacle. Penalties would probably be given more often and a Class B penalty would be much more of a genuine contest between taker and keeper. I reckon you’d see some fabulous goals and saves. They could even take the place of Class A penalties in shoot outs, making the determination of a Cup tie or Final somewhat less of a coin toss.
I guess there might be a new source of conflict – fans complaining about whether a Class B decision should’ve been a Class A – but I suspect they’d rather get a B than nothing.
Something to think about.
Adrian’s latest book The Fighting Man is in the shops right now or available through Booktopia. Adrian also wrote Mr Cleansheets.