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Technosoccer – timekeeping, video refs and all that…

September 21, 2009

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I thought i would reprint this article after the debate on timekeeping at Old Trafford yesterday, and the Robbie Keane “did he dive?” incident

One of the biggest things that annoys me about modern football is how it’s governing body is unable to embrace current technology.

I fully understand how people want to keep the game “pure”. A simple contest between 22 players. That the spectacle is the skill on the pitch, and not the 300 camera angles that can be offered. Football is a fantastic sport at its basic core. Controlling a ball with your feet? Strange concept in many ways when you assess it. Developed in Britain in the 19th century and then exported to every continent on the globe..a totally unrivalled success. Why should it be changed at all? Stuff your technology and confusion!

Au contraire mon petit Sepp Blatters!

Now, I’m looking at the professional game. I’m not interested in the kick-about in the park (God knows we used to manipulate the game there: Jumpers for goalposts, headers and volleys, next goal wins…hardly following in the spirit of its Victorian inventors!) Truth is that at the highest level of the game the rules need to be looked at. This is because the outcome of so many games now borderline on farce. Balls that did or didn’t cross lines. Offsides that were on. On-sides that were off. Unseen elbows in the face when the ref was scratching his arse. Players feigning injury to run the clock down…when there’s half an hour to go. Yes, the theatre of the beautiful game is turning into a Pantomime. But we can cure this virus with ease:

Embrace technology.

Now I’m not asking for the pitch to be turned into a triangle shape, with 15 referees and the players to wear infra red tags to determine if they beat the last defender lawfully or not. But what i do suggest is just too radical for many to comprehend..that it would “destroy” our game and that “we would always have ten minutes of stoppage time” per match. I say “calm down calm down” (yes..in a mock scouse accent)

Firstly, I want a Timekeeper in the stand. Yes, like rugby. No more stoppage time. No more wondering where the ref found that extra two minutes. Nice and simple. Clock gets stopped during stoppages. Game ends when the ball leaves play on, or after, 90 minutes. Its almost too easy NOT to implement it.

Secondly, I want Video Referees. Now many who advocate this with me say “oh, only for goal line decisions, only for this and only for that” Stuff it! I want the option for any decision to be reviewed if the on pitch official is not happy. If the ref wants a tackle to be reviewed then so be it. If it’s an offside, or a goal line clearance, or a punch in the face, it is all relevant. Football is too fast and physical these days for one man and his two flagged cronies to make a decision about something at the speed of light..quicker than the eye can see. We spend so much time demonising these men, because they failed to see a ball go a centimeter over the line from 30 yards away…damn their judgement and their eyesight! Time keeping would not be an issue with any of this because, of course,…..there would be no stoppage time to speak off.

There is only one more new law/rule i would like to see implemented. And i understand that this is controversial and will never happen…not ever!

I would implement sin bins. The on field discipline of stern talk, yellow card, sterner talk, red card is way out of date. In fact, it is wholly ineffective. I would tweak this system to give a more instantaneous punishment to teams. I would break down the caution process. (Now stay with me on this one) I would have 3 separate cautions: 5 minutes in the sin-bin, 15 minutes in the sin-bin, and a red card, the same as it is today. The 5 minute caution would be for back-chatting, ungentlemanly conduct, general minor indiscipline like not standing back ten yards from a free kick and time-wasting. The 15 minute sin-bin offence would mirror the more classic yellow card offenses: a bad tackle, serious breach of conduct, deliberate handball, etc. And then of course the red card remains as it is, as it is already an instantaneous punishment.

I think these “power-plays” (I hate that phrase) would not only be interesting but would stop the vast amounts of cheating (and yes the main problem here is cheating, not gamesmanship) And if it did not stop it? Then you are punished immediately by crippling the manpower of your team. You break the rules, then everyone suffers in your team. It is after all a “team sport”. And of course these decisions would be right as Mr Videoref would see EVERYTHING.

Now i know a rule change like this is mind-blowing to most, but I am convinced it would work and change football for the better. So we would have less diving in the box, less angry Roy Keanes surrounding officials, less bad challenges, less time-wasting….and more than likely…more goals. I know many will hate it but i do not care. At least i am not like Michel Platini who would ban tackling in a heartbeat if he could and would erect fences around every nations borders, allowing players to only play for domestic clubs within 10 miles of their birthplace.

Football needs a bit of updating. This is not an aesthetic idea. I want to see more help for officials and less of me screaming at a TV, when i get a better view than Mr Referee. I want less idiots ringing up Sports Phone-ins, moaning about the same decision for a week, and more clarity for ALL OF US. Is that a bad thing? Surely not.

Only thing now is for us to somehow get me into power in the corridors of FIFA so i can lead this revolution…of sorts!

Like this article? Click here for more at ViewFromTier3 –Rob’s blogzine

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2009 10:55 pm

    Wow wow wow wow wow!

    I have stumbled on this article by accident and it says EVERYTHING I have NEVER heard anywhere else, but which I TOTALLY agree with. I agree with the clock. I agree with a 3-card rule & sin bins. I definitely agree with total videoreffing (especially for all those dubious “on/offside” decisions).

    And much more – for example, rules like “shielding the ball” should become what they really are – “obstruction” (unless the “shielding” player has already touched the ball). This would stop balls being allowed to run out of play & would create more scoring opportunities. A red card would mean an automatic 90-min suspension (extendible on review). You don’t come back for the beginning of the next game.

    If ONLY a few more INTELLIGENT football fans would get on board and demand a TOTAL REVIEW of the game for the 21st Century, there might be a sliver of hope that the palaver that “Professional” football today might improve. Several other sports have moved ahead & left football behind, trundling along in its Model-T!

    But I hardly expect those bastions (as in “stone pillars”) of football authority to swallow their pride and do the right thing!

    What they SHOULD do even, is step aside and let some inspired new blood take the helm.

    Yes, Rob – Where do I vote?

    • September 22, 2009 8:46 am

      Newrone – thank you for your comment..it is a vote in itself. The reason i originally wrote the article before the start of this season was in anticipation of the dross that the popular press bombard us with in terms of the events on the pitch. We are prepared to spend a million column inches on how long stoppage time at Old Trafford was on Sunday but no one is willing to come up with a solution.

      I think my ideas are practical and sensible and would benefit the game. However, for everyone person that agrees with these ideas (like you) there is a hundred that would say “dont mess with the blessed game” Im sick of the controversies..therefore i dont buy newspapers anymore because i dont want to read about Eduardo making a tit of himself or the like

  2. beautifulfootball permalink
    September 22, 2009 3:02 am

    nicely said!

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