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Future rule changes for Football
On the 19th July 2010 the FIFA committee met in Cardiff, Wales to discuss improvements to the rules and procedures to the game of Football. Not on the agenda at this meeting is the introduction of touchline technology, this is in spite of what FIFA president Sepp Blatter had hinted at after the World Cup fiasco. The South African World Cup Finals had been some what spoiled by obvious flaws in the rules of our beloved game, and it has detracted from what was a successful and eventful World Cup. The South African World Cup Finals were marked by a carnival and welcoming atmosphere, Vuvuzelas, aeronautic-ally unstable footballs, poor sportsmanship and debatable refereeing decisions.
One of the biggest criticisms of Football from sports fans, is the amount of time players spend feigning injury. If you compare the theatrics of injured footballers to that of more heavy contact sports such as Rugby, the Footballers come out of it looking like "cry babies". Despite the negative image of the footballers, the feigning of injury to either waste time, gain a free kick or get a fellow player sent off or cautioned goes against the spirit of the game.
We as football fans want to see free flowing football with a good mix of skill and tactics. Whether the addition of extra officials or TV replays would stop this practice is up-to much debate. A better course of action maybe to "Sin Bin" players like Ice Hockey and Rugby. If a player is time wasting then a five or ten minute cool off period should stop the teams resorting to playacting and time wasting. Also the team who lose a player for a length of time are punished into working a lot harder, but not in the same way as a sending off would damage the contest.
FIFA are looking to introduce an extra two officials on the pitch as soon as realistically possible. The use of extra referee's assistants was tried at youth tournaments. For the wider football family the expense of having an extra two officials may too much of a financial strain. The added manpower expense would be more than setting up the Hawk-eye style technology for the professional game. It is likely if the two added officials were to be in the English game alone, we would need to increase the amount of people trained to professional standard by at least 95 extra officials. That would roughly be the figure needed to run the top levels of the English Premier league, Championship, League One and League Two.
As an Englishmen the biggest travesty of the World Cup Finals 2010 has got to be the Lampard goal versus Germany that was a goal but not awarded. Now i am not saying that the goal been ignored would have changed the result that much as Germany were the better team and they deserved to get through. What annoyed me was the fact that at least two officials could not do there job properly. I have spoken of the FIFA proposal to add an extra two officials, would the two extra officials have spotted the goal?
The biggest argument against video replays is that it will slow the game down, i find this a silly and small minded view. If we watch an average football the ball is not in play more than two thirds of the match. To view an incident via a video referee would take less than thirty seconds, some players spend longer than that simulating injury. Video referrals such as Hawkeye slow the game down? I don't think so.
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I am not advocating drastic rule changes for our beautiful game, but i do think we should bring some modern technology into the game. If there is a way we can reduce the amount of mistakes and the number of fouls that go unpunished then i think we should look into it. FIFA is currently putting its head in the sand hoeing the problem will go away, but with every big international tournament there is always a major talking point that could have been avoided had the officials on the day had the right support to deal with any breaches of the rules.