FIFA has admitted that it was not happy with some aspects of the recent World Cup and is contemplating some fundamental changes. President Sepp Blatter announced that FIFA will consider getting rid of extra time at World Cups and possibly reviving the ‘golden goal’. Blatter is far from happy with some teams’ priority to secure a penalty shoot out in the extra time period.
Blatter noted that some teams played for a draw from the first whistle especially during the group stages in an effort to garner three points which may prove sufficient to qualify for the next stage of the tournament:
“Often we see teams set themselves up even more defensively in extra time in an attempt to avoid conceding a goal at all costs. To prevent this, we could go directly to a penalty shootout or reintroduce the golden goal rule. We’ll see what emerges from the committee meetings.”
So here are a couple of thoughts which are straight out of left field but could still be worth at least considering:
1. A draw should be an opportunity lost, not a point won
One of the most successful changes ever made in football was awarding three instead of two points for a win. A draw went from being worth half a win to a third overnight and nobody has ever regretted that move. It may now be time to go a step further and reduce its value to one quarter by awarding four points for a win making a draw not worth much more than a defeat.
It will certainly make playing for three draws in a World Cup qualifying group, as New Zealand did in South Africa, absolutely useless. What’s more, it will be something that could be worth doing in every single competition including Champions League, World Cup and Euro group qualifying stages. And there will be absolutely nothing wrong with doing the same in the English Premier League and other domestic leagues.
2. ‘Sin Bins’ to limit ‘tactical’ fouls
Another possible change can be introduced to help stop teams from intentionally disrupting the flow of the game, as the Netherlands did in this years World Cup Final, by different players committing yellow card offences. The introduction of a ‘sin bin’ as used in other sports may be one answer. A yellow card offence can carry a mandatory 10 or 15 minutes out of the game while a second will continue to mean a red. Risking having two or three players serving time in a sin bin simultaneously will be the height of stupidity for any manager to encourage.
Are these suggestions too simplistic or too difficult to implement? Am I missing something? Surely, there can be little wrong with at least giving them some consideration. Then there’s the technology question of course but that a subject for another time.