Fifa chief technical development officer, Marco van Basten has unveiled his ideas to change football for the better with the introduction of a series of changes that will change the game we love.
As reported in the Independent, the former Dutch international wants to scrap the offside rule, introduce sin bins and orange cards, eliminate the need for extra time, introduce a time limit for penalty shoot-outs and have the 90 minute game as we know it split into four quarters, while also limiting the number of games played in a season.
While changing anything we have gotten used to will be met with some scepticism, Van Basten feels this is the way to bring football forward.
“I have spoken to a lot of coaches and players,” “We have to promote quality instead of quantity. We are playing too much football now. We have to defend players because they have to play so much and are not fresh or fit anymore.
“That’s bad for the quality of the game. Even in June when the big tournaments are played players cannot perform to their maximum because now if players are really successful they can play up to 75 official games in the year. I think that’s a bit too much and maybe they should stop at 55 or 60.”
In addition to the rule changes, players should not surround the referee and like rugby, only the captain should be allowed to speak to the official. The former AC Milan legend of the game also feels extra time and penalties should be scrapped in favour of shoot-outs where players dribble towards the goal from 25 meters out.
“Maybe the player should start 25 metres from goal and then you can dribble the goalkeeper or shoot early.
“But you have to make a goal within eight seconds. It’s more skill and less luck. It’s maybe a bit more spectacular. It’s more football but it’s still nervous for the player.”
While Van Basten’s ideas will be open to criticism, it is clear football needs to move forward and they could do no harm in looking to rugby and the way they play the game.
The scrapping of the offside rule could be the one change which receives the most objections. He was quick to point out the advantages of it.
“I think it can be very interesting watching a game without offside. Football now is already looking a lot like handball with nine or ten defenders in front of the goal. It’s difficult for the opposition to score a goal as it’s very difficult to create something in the small pieces of space they give you. So if you play without offside you get more possibilities to score a goal.”
The introduction of sin bins and orange cards would also be a huge change in the game.
Van Basten has suggested a format where after being shown a yellow card and then receiving a red card as we know it the player gets sent packing. Now, the orange card could be introduced for a foul which is deemed more worthy of a yellow but not a red.
“Maybe an orange card could be shown that sees a player go out of the game for 10 minutes for incidents that are not heavy enough for a red card.”
Any changes to the laws of the game cannot be forced through by Van Basten, although Fifa’s president Gianni Infantino is open to ideas to enhance the game and he has just ratified a 48 team world cup to help improve the game.
Infantino is determined to leave an impression during his spell as Fifa President. It is believed changes will be made to the game, if they work it remains to be seen.
Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena