Football Rule Changes

Football Rule Changes

Football may be the most popular game in the world, but this doesn’t mean that it is without its flaws. In fact, the very success of the sport may be slowly poisoning it, and impacting the growth of the game in countries around the world.

Debt

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 27: In this photo illustration pound coins are stacked in front of a twenty pound note on November 27 2008 in Bristol, England. Many UK consumers are feeling the pinch as the financial crisis and economic downturn makes borrowing harder and more expensive and the recession starts to bite. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)The issue of debt is contributing to what is becoming an increasingly unequal playing field in club football. The clubs in the English Premier League are the worst offenders, shelling out hundreds of millions of pounds for players.

Using debt to buy players not only jeopardises the financial security of some of the world’s biggest clubs – it also provides a false basis for the growth of these clubs, as results are determined by big spending rather than the careful nurturing of local talent.

By placing limitations on debt, clubs would be forced to grow organically and to invest in the development of local players. It could also ensure that the outcome of major domestic and regional competitions would not decided by debt-inflated budgets, but rather by careful planning, sound strategy and intelligent management.

Player Imports

A supporter of Britain with rthe colors of the Union Jack painted on his face, waits in front of the National Stadium, also known as the 'Bird's Nest,' a few hours before the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 8, 2008 in Beijing.(MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)During the 1970s, football fans supporting English or Scottish clubs were actually supporting English or Scottish players. Today, these same clubs are global conglomerates, with team quality determined almost entirely by the amount of money used to lure top foreign players to Britain.

Whilst the quality of football this practice creates is excellent, its impact on the development of football in the United Kingdom is less so. Not only are clubs tempted to purchase foreign talent rather than nurture domestic talent, but top British players are frequently unable to gain access or exposure to the highest levels of English football.

One simple solution to this problem could be to restrict foreign participation in domestic knockout cups. Tournaments like the FA Cup, which is in danger of becoming a relic of a bygone era, might benefit significantly from renewed local interest if managers were restricted to picking teams comprising players from the club’s home town or region.

Market Saturation

There is a virtual buffet of top class football available for 9 months of the year. Whilst some football fans can’t get enough of the game, the same can’t be said for players, managers and clubs.

In fact, the increase in the number of fixtures and competitions means that managers often have to choose which titles they want to pursue, thereby often causing the devaluation of domestic tournaments as they go in pursuit of regional success.

One of the factors which contributes to the appeal of the Football World Cup is the gradual build-up to the event, as this creates a sense of anticipation and excitement. Hosting regional club competitions on a biennial basis would be one way of unclogging the football calendar, at the same time adding more significance to major regional club competitions.

Gamesmanship

Berlin, GERMANY: French midfielder Zinedine Zidane (L) gestures after head butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the World Cup 2006 final football match between Italy and France at Berlin?s Olympic Stadium, 09 July 2006. AFP PHOTO/JOHN MACDOUGALLFootball has a shameful reputation as a sport in which gamesmanship is rife. The spectacle of a football player rolling around on the ground after a light tackle, in an attempt to secure a penalty, has become something of a cliché.

In this respect football has lagged behind other major sports, in which citing commissioners and replay challenges like the hawk-eye system used in tennis, are recognised as part and parcel of ensuring fair outcomes in professional sport.

Due to the simplicity of its rules, football could easily put the use of replay technology and a challenge system to great effect. The use of these would eliminate, amongst other things, incorrect offside calls by referees and Oscar winning tumbles in front of goal.

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