Football as we know it might be about to change monumentally with blue cards touted to be trialled in both the Men’s and Women’s FA Cup next season.
We may be about to enter an era long discussed, semi-seriously, by post-five-a-side pub dwellers. We may be in the predawn haze of the Sin Bin-oscene.
IFAB are proposing that players who have committed offences such as dissent or cynical fouls to break up counter-attacks (think Giorgio Chiellini on Bukayo Saka in the Euros), would be shown a blue card and placed in a sin bin for ten minutes.
It’s an interesting idea that has obviously provoked overreactions, underreactions, intrigue, and indifference from pundits and fans.
It shook the rust off of our crumbling brain cogs and got us thinking: If we were to introduce a new rule into our beautiful game, what changes would we make?
It is our great pleasure to present to you Planet Football’s Manifesto for an Even More Beautiful Game (IT’S JUST A BIT OF FUN, DON’T COME FOR US).
The Daylight Rule
First up, let’s sort offsides out.
It’s a mess out there, at the moment. Gorgeous goals are being ruled out left, right, and centre because your striker’s baby toe’s third-born child was a nanometre offside in the build-up.
That’s not what the offside rule was created for. The two-player offside rule was created in Scotland 131 years ago to stop people goal-hanging with the gloveless goalkeeper.
England cottoned onto this in 1925, partially because Newcastle’s Bill McCracken (exquisite name) had mastered the offside trap so perfectly that it had become a pre-game console cheat code.
We reckon goals are the best thing about football (apologies to any Italians out there — defence is good too).
The benefit of the doubt should be given to attackers, and so, we propose that if any part of your body is onside, you’re fine.
If there’s daylight between the attacker and the last man, the attacker is offside. This wouldn’t get rid of the computer guys with their crosshairs and their pretend lines, but it would surely lead to more goals and less frustration.
Think about it, IFAB.
Three VAR Appeals Per Team
Under this law, each team would only be allowed to appeal three decisions per match using VAR.
Only the captain or the manager are allowed to appeal a decision and, if no appeal is made, VAR is not used.
Whatever your opinion of VAR, it’s unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon because of the amount of money spent on bringing it in.
Maybe a three-appeals rule would help streamline VAR? Maybe…?
Temporary Substitutes for Head Injuries
It doesn’t take much thinking, this one.
Get anyone with a head injury off the pitch, assess them properly and thoroughly, let them back on if they’re fine.
Allowing a temporary sub takes away the incentive for the injured play to act the hero and power through for their team, or for an irresponsible coach to leave the player on the pitch in the off chance they’re not concussed.
It is someone’s sole professional responsibility to stop the clock whenever the ball is not in play. This might mean we have to shorten the length of a game, but it would remove time-wasting subs and fake injuries.
At present, the average time the ball spends actually in play in the Premier League is around 55 minutes.
Putting 60 minutes on the clock and freezing it every time the ball isn’t in play would actually lengthen the game by an average of five minutes as well as making it more exciting.
If a cup game ends in a draw, instead of playing another half an hour of regular football or going straight to penalties, teams play 10 minutes of five-a-side on a full-sized pitch.
The manager has to pick the best five players for the job: A goalie and four defenders? Five midfielders? Do you go for all-out attack or defend the goal with your life?
The DRAMA. The JEOPARDY. The CHAOS.
The Five Yellows Rule
If your team has already accrued four yellow cards, the next one (and every yellow card offence thereafter) is automatically a red. Let’s see you rotate those yellow cards now, City.
Four Points for a Win
Fuck it. Up the ante. If you can’t stand the heat, get outta the kitchen.
We regularly hear co-commentators uttering phrases along the lines of, “It’s one of those where you’ve seen them given. It’s a sort of orange card challenge.”
What if orange cards actually existed? It’s a warning, but it means that next time you commit a foul or any sort of offence, you’re going to be sent off regardless of what the offence is.
If you’re on an orange card and you give away an innocuous free kick in the centre circle, you’re off. Shouldn’t have halved that winger in the first half, should you?
Homegrown International Managers
Managers of national teams must be a citizen of the nation they’re managing. Why do the players have to be eligible to play for their country but not the managers?
That would mean we’d have to give Sarina Wiegman back to the Netherlands, though, so maybe let’s park that one for now.
What changes would you make to the football lawbook? Are you joining the Planet Football revolution, or are we out of our tiny minds?