How to Improve the Beautiful Game
Over the years, I've given a lot of thought about ways to improve soccer. While I'm sure that some of these things have been written about or discussed - maybe extensively - I haven't really followed any of those debates. So here are the suggestions:
Stop the Clock. I hate time wasting. Hate it. And the added time at the end doesn't make up for it. So how about just stopping the game clock whenever there is a stoppage of play. No more incentive to make pointless substitutions, fake injuries or otherwise waste time. And this would ensure that 90 minutes of soccer have been played.
Review Crucial Calls. Refs make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes change the game. So let's start having a video review by another official after important calls. That would include goals, penalties and red cards. It wouldn't take much extra time. And there aren't a lot of these events (and many of my suggestions would make them less impactful), so let's make sure we get them right.
No More Free Goals. I hate penalties. Many times they are the difference in a game. You can't convince me that a hard tackle just inside the box on the end line is worthy of a free goal. But that is the reward. I really like the back-pass rule here. Just let the opposing team have a free kick in the box wherever the infraction occurred. It gives keepers a fighting change while still putting them in dangerous spot.
Add Subs. While I'd be open to adding more substitutes to a game (probably very controversial), I'm just referring to extra time here. If the teams are going to play an extra 30 minutes, let's give them each an extra 2 subs at least. It's no fun watching tired soccer, so let them get some fresh legs out there.
Red Cards. What if a red card wasn't a death stroke? What if a substitute could be brought on? You could give the opposing team a power play (say 5-10 minutes of being a man up) and then allow the other team to bring on a sub (assuming they still have subs available). Games are far better when it is 11v11.
Post Facto Cards. Not everything is caught during the game. While players can be fined or suspended after games, let's add cards to that. This would apply critically to diving. Make the diving stop.
Soccer is notoriously stubborn when it comes to change, but it is past time to embrace it. We have new technology that could really help in getting things right and keeping everyone honest. And while the rules may have been in place for a while, why not rethink some of those? Let's get it done for the good of the game.
My personal musings on a variety of topics.