Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Modest Proposal to Reform Soccer

So far this year's World Cup has been relatively exciting - at least compared to the previous iteration, which was roughly as exciting as watching grass grow. Which is what one is reduced to when teams play to a 120 minute scoreless tie. The exciting moments in soccer are exactly those in which the ball and offensive players enter the penalty box. The really boring moments are those in which a team kicks the ball around in its own end. So here are a few suggestions to breathe some life into the world's favorite boring sport.

The pitch is currently divided into two halves. The offside rule only applies in the offensive half. Suggestion: (1) divide the field into thirds, with the offside rule only applying in the offensive third.

In basketball, teams have limited time to bring the ball beyond the half line and lose the ball if they subsequently reverse that. Sugg (2)Limit the time in which a team can hold the ball in the defensive third and forbid returning it. Violations are punished by awarding the other team a goal kick.

Sugg (3) Teams are limited to a maximum of 9 players (including goalie) in the defensive third of the field, except on and directly after corner kicks or out of bounds in the defensive third.

Sugg (4) Adopt Pele's idea of replacing the throw in with a kick in.

Sugg (5) Much more generous substitution rules.

The general objective is get to approximately ten goals per game on approximately thirty trips into the box each game.