There has been much talk lately about how professional football rules need to be revamped. Russia has a particular interest in seeing these rules implemented given that it will host the World Cup in 2018.
Every sport evolves with time — technically, tactically and physically. The fact that FIFA has done so little so far to promote a thorough examination of football rules is inexcusable.
Here are seven proposals to help maintain the integrity of football and help make sure the 2018 World Cup is a success for Russia and the millions of fans who will follow the games:
- In the proposed new system of rules, the countdown-timing device would be visible for all to see and the game time would stop every instance there is a foul, an injured player on the pitch, a corner kick or a free throw.
- Additional referees should be placed on the field. This would address many of the issues related to missed calls.
- Players diving in theater-like fashion anywhere inside the pitch attempting to confuse referees into awarding them a penalty kick should be immediately red-carded and suspended for two matches.
- A newly demarcated attacking zone at both ends of the field would be created. A dotted line would be drawn in between the midfield line and the top of the penalty box. The offside region, or attacking zone, would be the space in between the goal line and the newly created dotted line.
- Every time a team commits five fouls, they would be punished by the removal of one player off the field for 10 minutes and have to defend a penalty kick against them.
- Racist remarks and behavior by fans and other officials associated with the game need to be strictly punished. Unfortunately, Russia has had its share of ugly racist incidents, including the latest two weeks ago when a fan threw a banana at Brazilian Roberto Carlos, a member of Russia's team from Makhachkala in Dagestan. To its credit, Russian officials have been diligent in cracking down on this kind of racism, and this needs to be matched by other professional football teams and organizations on a global scale.
- The use of instant replay would fundamentally destroy the philosophical essence of the beautiful game. Daily living and football play are characterized by a continuous stream of potentially fateful events that cannot be turned back and where there is no reversal of fortunes. It is an option that we do not have in life and we should not have in football matches.