Football (Soccer) Rule Changes Needed to Improve the World Game

Ways to Improve the game for Teams, Players, Fans

Now that the final games of the 2010 FIFA World Cup are to be played it is time to review how the world game could be improved through a number of rule changes. Soccer is indeed a world game with 300,000 soccer clubs worldwide, comprised of 240 million players, 30 million of which are women. Let's make it better for players, teams and fans!

What are the Main Problems with Soccer and the Solutions

  • A penalty goal should be awarded for a deliberate hand-ball on the line that stops a goal. It is ridiculous that a player can deliberately block a goal and that a penalty is awarded. When it is clear that the goal would have been scored, the offending player should be sent off and a goal awarded immediately. The referee already has to decide whether the hand-ball was deliberate - this should be extended to whether a goal would have been scored using the video review as outlined below.
  • Video reviews by a third referee should be introduced. This applies for most other international sports. It could be limited to 3 per team per half, but it is needed because of the obvious refereeing errors that occurred in the world cup. This could be extended to offside decisions immediately before a goal was scored which is easy to review on a video, but very hard for the assistant referee to decide under the current rule.

Soccer is very popular with young people who get frustrated with draws and penalty shoot-outs
Soccer is very popular with young people who get frustrated with draws and penalty shoot-outs | Source
Soccer could be vastly improved with simple rule changes
Soccer could be vastly improved with simple rule changes | Source
Too many games are won or lost because of one or two disputed referee decisions. Larger goals and higher score would remove this unfair lottery for the outcomes
Too many games are won or lost because of one or two disputed referee decisions. Larger goals and higher score would remove this unfair lottery for the outcomes | Source

Other Suggestions to Improve Football

Increase the width of the goals by one meter (3.28 feet)

This would increase the number of goal scored and increase the number of long range shots which is what the fans want and would provide for fairer outcomes.

The counter arguments are:

► The goal is already a good size and most goal keepers can't stop a good high powered shot.

► Further, having a bigger goal would mean a goalkeeper could have no chance of saving penalty shots, and so wider goals would fundamentally change how the game is played.

However one extra meter is only a 12% increase.

Something has to be done to increase the number of goals scored for the fans and to provide fairer results where the best team wins.

This would also reduce the number of draws, especially 0-0 draws which are boring after 90 minutes and 20 minutes extra time.

Many current games are boring, with defensive tactics to the fore. The outcome can be a lottery, depending on a single 'lucky' goal.

The outcomes need to be fairer. Wider goals and higher scores would make this happen.

Players given a 'yellow-card' should leave the field for 10 minutes, with the existing penalties still applied.

This would reduce the number of blatant fouls that are marring the game. Players can deliberately block a player shooting for goal or deliberately aim to injure a key player without an immediate penalty if they are not sent off.

The penalty shoot-out is grossly unfair and while 'entertaining' many fans are left angry and frustrated by it.

There are several better options for resolving draws:

  • Count of corner kicks - but this would dramatically change the game as teams would go for corners rather than goals.
  • Golden goal during the 10 minutes of extra time each way - but this could make teams focus on defence.
  • 2 Players leave the field to 'open up the game during extra time. After the first two periods of 10 minutes of extra time - with no golden goal rule, a series of 10 minutes are allowed with the gold goal rule applied, and with 2 players from each side asked to leave the field at the start of each period. This would mean that the outcome was determined by skill and the better team would win. It would be exciting for the fans and much fairer.

Other suggestions:

  • Players should be encouraged to wear body-hugging shirts to stop the obvious shirt-tugging that ruins the game and is difficult to police. Referees should be tougher on players grabbing and blocking players during free kicks and corners.

Glad to hear of any other suggestions or comments you may have.

Note: I played the game for 15 years and have been a fan for 50 years.

© janderson99-HubPages

© 2010 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 9 comments

Damion 6 years ago

Mostly great suggestions. I don't think widening the goals is necessary. However, I WOULD like to see an elimination of the offside rule from the large goalie box forward. I see nothing fun or interesting about the strategy teams use to catch players off sides down there. The only thing negative would be if it actually causes defenders to congest the goal area REDUCING the number of goals (I just don't know enough, but perhaps that's true). And I would go beyond just video review of goal scoring. I would create a video ref that could call fouls even a minute or two after their commission. If players KNOW they will be called for fouling even if the refs aren't looking they are much less likely to play dirty. It would take some adjustment but it would improve the game dramatically.


Brian Grey 6 years ago

Instead of widening the goals, the game could be played with a smaller ball (e.g. size 4 instead of a normal size 5). In addition, considering how athletic the players are nowadays, playing with a total of 10 instead of 11 would create an opportunity for skillful players to show their skills and potentially increase the number of goals.

Other potential improvements (Similar to basketball) :

The game could be played with stopwatch, every time the ball is not in play, stop the watch (The game should either be 60min without break or 2 halves 30 minutes each.)

The player who commits a foul should raise his hand just like in basketball, failing to do so should result in a yellow card.

You need to pass the half line in less than certain number of seconds if you have the possession.


Jordan Riley profile image

Jordan Riley 5 years ago

Very nice discourse you have provided . Fantastic is all I can say


Andrew 5 years ago

Get rid of the wall. Make it a direct kick. Also, allow more substitution. Increase subs to 6. You can also do like the college system and allow unlimited subs in the 2nd half. You have to keep the quality of the game high from start to finish. Too often you watch games and by the 60th minutes some guys are walking. Also, there have to be some examination of the offsides rule. If I take a shot and it deflects off an opponent and reaches one of my teammates who is ahead of the play, this should not be offsides because the ball was deflected off an opponent. The game need some tweeking.


Vlad Marinov 5 years ago

Great suggestions, I don't watch the game very much any more for EXACTLY all the reasons outlined in this very well thought out 'suggestions page'. Of course the goals should be bigger, this is so obvious. If the rules were changed as suggested here, a former regular supporter of soccer would return.


Kacer from Adelaide 4 years ago

Great to see people interested in improving the world game. To me the number one change (once proper tests have been conducted to determine the average actual "play" time each half) is as suggested a timed game. I thihnkit would actually be more like 35 to 40 minutes when examined carefully, but this would (in one simple rule change) alter the complexion of the game massively. Just think...no incentive for anyone to waste time ever again because there would be no such thing...as soon as play stops, the time stops. No more substitutions after 89 minutes by the winning team. No more goalkeepers taking an eternity over goal kicks. No more faking injuries just for the sake of time wasting (I'm sure this would still exist for the purpose of getting a competitor yellow or red carded but that's life). Not sure about goal size changes but in theory this does make sense as they haven't changed for many years whilst the average height of the modern goalkeeper is considerably in excess of those from 100 years ago. In Australian Rules you can have "interchange" which I think is a great idea. Why penalize a team that has used all 3 subs when a player is injured and out of the game for the last 10 minutes or so. Doesn't happen often but shouldn't happen at all. One final question....why hasn't Sepp Blatter done something about the timed game option before? He is the most powerful man in football and I have NEVER heard him even talk about it as an option.


Soccahead 13 months ago

The offside area shouldn't be midfield but rather an arched line with the focal point being mid goal and extending 4/5ths of the way toward the center of the midfield line and then arching at that distance toward the side lines.

Only five defenders (keeper being 1 of 5) and five attackers allowed inside the penalty area. Defenders have big O's on Jersey, attackers have big X's on Jersey to help officials discern.


Geoff Ninnes profile image

Geoff Ninnes 2 weeks ago

Rather than goal line technology (which is impossible to implement at all levels of the game) the referees assistants should position themselves at each goalpost when a direct free kick just outside the penalty area or an indirect free kick inside. The likelihood of being called on for an offside decision would be rare and it would be more important to determine if a goal was scored. Also in that position they could more easily see fouls and so on.


Trace Fairley profile image

Trace Fairley 12 days ago

corner kicks = boredom and few goals - either restrict players in the box or bring the kick in closer to the goal

too many players too restrictive - either eliminate one player per team (fifa will say no) or have a hockey like offside rule ( once a zone is attained no more offside)

bring wall back 12 yards from ball or get rid of it

kick ins instead of throw ins

Best suggestion of all: Get rid of FIFA - corrupt conservative backward thinking old rich guys in suits

five or ten minute sin bin for yellow cards ( follow rugby's lead)

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    Dr. John Anderson (janderson99)754 Followers
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    Dr. John applies his scientific & research skills to review and evaluate new trends in sports, games, rules and to review training methods.



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