By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
  1. David Bolt

    David Bolt Member

    May 30, 2008
    Liverpool
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Wales

    Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

    By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
    [​IMG]

    It’s been over a week since the World Cup ended. It feels like the end of an era, because the next one will be weird, for us in Europe at least, as it’s played in November. Following that, the 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams in 16 groups of 3, robbing us of the most dramatic part of this World Cup, which was the final group games, where the team that was qualifying changed several times during the games.

    But, as well as the good, the tournament highlighted some of the bad in football and I've been thinking about some of the ways football can be improved.

    A lot of these ideas are VAR-centric. Now, I hate VAR. It’s an overblown solution to a problem that has only ever existed in the minds of annoyed fans, and certain managers who’ve become accustomed to using the referee as a cover for their own mistakes.

    What we got at the World Cup was a version of VAR that felt like a beta test, and created as many problems as it solved.

    However, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. VAR looks like it’s here to stay. People like me will just have to get used to it. So, rather than moaning about VAR’s failings, here’s some ideas as to how we make it a little better.

    1. Full-speed replays in VAR

    A no-brainer. Slow-motion has many advantages, but it can also give a false idea of what really happened. Studies have shown that a referee watching an incident on slo-mo will be more likely to think it intentional. I think the wise thing to do is include full-speed replays as part of the VAR process.

    The World Cup final changed as a result of the handball given against Ivan Perisic. It meant Croatia had to take a few more risks, commit a few more players forward, which then gave France’s attackers the chance to wreak havoc on a Croatia defence that had done a good job of bottling them up.

    I don’t know if Nestor Pitana only had slo-mo replays in the final or if he watched some full speed replays. Watching the Perisic ‘handball’ on slo-mo, I still didn’t think it was a penalty, but I can see why some others might have. However, I think that if anyone, the referee included, saw that in full-speed, it would be clear that Perisic didn’t intentionally handle the ball; he just didn’t have the time to.

    2. Time limits on VAR

    The whole point of VAR is that it’s supposed to be used only when there’s a ‘clear and obvious error’. It’s not meant to be used for marginal and subjective calls such as the Perisic incident.

    As it’s only meant to be used when there’s a clear and obvious error, there shouldn’t be any need for the replays to take more than say, a minute? It should really be a case of referee taking a look at a replay or two, and immediately realising their mistake, or not. If it takes longer, it wasn’t clear or obvious and shouldn’t have ever been referred.

    3. Make the VAR ref give the decision

    One of the big flaws with VAR in its current form is that it’s only advisory. Ultimately it comes down to the referee on the pitch to make a decision. Referees by nature have to be stubborn when they make a decision. At least one set of players and fans will dispute any decision made. So, referees can be told they’re wrong and ignore it.

    But, if you are told you’re wrong by your peers, you’re going to be more likely to listen. It’s inevitable that there’s a sort of confirmation bias there and they’ll look at the replays looking for where they made a mistake.

    So, I think it should be taken out of the referees hands. The VAR referees are all qualified enough to make the decision, and they're all dressed for it, so let them make it. That’s how it works in other sports like Cricket and Rugby.

    4. Adopt the Green Card

    One of the few negatives from this World Cup was the sheer amount of cheating that was going on. VAR added to this, with players exaggerating the slightest bit of contact in the hopes of attracting the attention of the VAR officials. Football is the only sport I can think of where it’s an accepted tactic to try and get one of your opponents sent off. It’s not a good look for the sport.

    Earlier this summer, I was at the CONIFA World Football Cup in London, and they had a neat solution in that the referees there had the power to show a green card to any player caught cheating or doing any other unsportsmanlike behaviour. A player shown a green card had to be immediately substituted. If the player’s team had already used all of its subs, then they go down to 10 men.

    This could be easily introduced, especially with VAR, where it would be a simple matter of getting the VAR officials to check the replay of any incident and direct the on-field referee to show the green card.

    5. 10-minute concussion checks for head injuries

    Football has a horribly cavalier approach to head injuries. Concussion is barely understood, and its diagnosis is more likely to be seen as an excuse being made for poor performance, rather than a potentially serious injury.

    At present, it’s up to each team’s doctor to make a concussion diagnosis, with FIFA recommending that a concussed player doesn’t play with 6 days, but it is likely that there are many players purposely going undiagnosed or not receiving proper care.

    During the game between Morocco and Iran, Morocco’s Nordin Amrabat was knocked out by a nasty clash of heads. After the game he spent the night in hospital and suffered memory loss. Astonishingly he was cleared to play against Portugal five days later. Similarly, France’s Blaise Matuidi was clearly dazed after colliding with Eden Hazard during the semi-final, but was somehow allowed to play on only to collapse a few minutes later. Matuidi was cleared to play in the final.

    Diagnosing concussions takes time. So, let’s give the doctors and the players that time. In Rugby League, any player with a suspected head injury has go off for a 10-minute concussion check.

    Football should do the same. Any player who goes down with a head injury should be made to leave the pitch for a 10-minute concussion check. They could be temporarily replaced by another player, and like rugby, if the concussed player isn’t fit to carry on, then that substitution becomes permanent. The concussion checks should also be carried out by an independent neurologist, who wouldn’t be subject to the pressures a team doctor would have in getting a player back on the pitch.

    This would have several benefits. Players in need of treatment would get it. Players going down holding their face to try and get an opponent sent off would stop if they had to sit out 10 minutes. And, if we’re using VAR, then you could have a neurologist looking at possible incidences of players needing assessment that have been missed on the pitch.

    6. Mic up referees

    Too often players and referees use the referee as a convenient punching bag for their own failings with impunity. They are allowed to treat the ref in a way no person should be treated. And, that message filters down, which is why parents seem to think it’s acceptable to scream abuse at a teenager referring a game, and that teenager in turn decides the peanuts they’re paid isn’t worth the abuse, and quits, and that’s why referee numbers are dropping.

    Football has failed to do anything about this. Campaigns to respect the referee fizzle out when the players ignore it and the authorities do nothing to enforce it. Worse, they enable it by telling referees to either ignore, or only mildly punish incidents such as Ronaldo getting in referee Cesar Arturo Ramos’ face and screaming ‘F**k you’ towards the end of Portugal’s defeat by Uruguay.

    If the authorities aren’t going to get them to stop, then I think the only way will be if the world gets to hear the things players say to referees. Players may not care if the world gets to hear them abusing another person, but their sponsors will. If sponsors get nervous about being associated with the sport, or a particular player, the abuse will stop.
     
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Comments

Discussion in 'World Cup 2018 - Russia' started by David Bolt, Jul 25, 2018.

    1. It's called FOOTBALL

      May 4, 2009

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      It improves their bottom line. More countries involved means higher ratings. I don't mind it. If the favored teams are afraid of being upset, then they need to play more carefully.

      But having a R32 is dumb. This isn't NCAA. Let only the 16 group winners advance.

      Nonetheless, if there is a R32, then the favorites still have no excuse. Don't let the "minnow" hit you on a counter or convert that set piece.
       
    2. VFish

      VFish Member+

      Jan 7, 2001
      Atlanta, GA
      Club:
      Atlanta

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      A 48 team World Cup? That is just talk right? I think 32 teams is already 8 teams to many.
       
    3. Paul Calixte

      Paul Calixte Moderator
      Staff Member

      Orlando City SC
      Apr 30, 2009
      Miami, FL
      Club:
      Orlando City SC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Just in case you aren't being sarcastic: it's guaranteed to happen for 2026, and FIFA are currently mulling a CONMEBOL request to expand the field for 2022 to 48 as well.
       
    4. VFish

      VFish Member+

      Jan 7, 2001
      Atlanta, GA
      Club:
      Atlanta

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Well what is the point in regional qualifications then? And let me guess, this is being done to allow more teams from Asia and Africa into the tournament. UEFA's allocation will not be increased despite the European's dominating the World Cup.
       
    5. AlbertCamus

      AlbertCamus Member+

      Colorado Rapids
      Sep 2, 2005
      Colorado, USA
      Club:
      Colorado Rapids

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      I normally hate rule change articles, but this was one good. The proposals were subtle, and I agree about the VAR being a Beta version, although I thought it was more successful than the writer did. I totally agree about slow motion though, I've been saying slowmo is over used in replays for years
       
    6. Cavan9

      Cavan9 Member

      Nov 16, 2011
      Silver Spring, MD
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      I like making public all the garbage that the players say to the referee. I hate that the players now seem to have impunity to act like jerks to the official. They are playing a game with rules that you agree to upon entering the field of play. They are also professionals. Act like it.
       
    7. rocketeer22

      rocketeer22 Member+

      Apr 11, 2000
      Oakton,VA
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      I think it was confirmed at 48 even before the selection of the host for the tournament.

      But, in this case, as 3 CONCACAF berths are already claimed by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for hosting the tournament, that would leave the remainder of the region fighting for 1/2 slot.

      I haven't seen how the group stage will work out yet, but I think they could go with 8 groups of 6 teams and top 4 of each go on to the knock-out rounds.
       
    8. Postmaster

      Postmaster Member

      Jan 10, 2002
      Poolesville, MD USA
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Move the penalty spot back to the 18. Makes a penalty shot more of a 50-50 opportunity where the players decide it on the field rather than the Ref essentially having awarding a goal (80-90% of the time). I think it would encourage Refs to call more penalties, which in turn might cause players to behave better. Eliminating "yeah, it was a foul, but you're not going to get a penalty for that" makes the sport more rational. Higher scoring soccer matches (even if from penalties) would be a good thing (e.g., fewer nil-nil draws).
       
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    9. Southern Man

      Southern Man Member

      Jun 14, 2008

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      I am more positive on VAR that the writer, but I think some of these suggestions are very good, especially with regard to having full speed replays and having the VAR official make the decision.

      I'd just like to point out that the statement that soccer is the only sport where players try to get an opponent sent off is completely incorrect. Basketball players are spending enormous amounts of time and energy trying to draw fouls both real and imagined. Not just to score easy points, but also to force their opponents to be substituted, to play more tenatively, or to be disqualified.
       
    10. Paul Calixte

      Paul Calixte Moderator
      Staff Member

      Orlando City SC
      Apr 30, 2009
      Miami, FL
      Club:
      Orlando City SC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      FIFA already announced that Conccaf will have 6 direct berths plus 1 playoff berth for 48-team World Cups. And with the host confederation getting an extra playoff berth, if FIFA lets all three hosts in automatically, the rest of the region would play for three direct berths and two playoff tickets.
       
    11. Miguel Myers

      Miguel Myers Member+

      Dec 3, 2011
      Club:
      Club América
      Nat'l Team:
      Mexico

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      For me, a game ending injury (concussion, broken arm, torn ligament etc) should be a free substitution...
       
      pwykes repped this.
    12. VFish

      VFish Member+

      Jan 7, 2001
      Atlanta, GA
      Club:
      Atlanta

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Oh boy, that opens a new can of worms. You are going to see a lot of serious injuries in the waning minutes of the game if all a teams subs have been utilized.
       
      Mifek repped this.
    13. Paul Calixte

      Paul Calixte Moderator
      Staff Member

      Orlando City SC
      Apr 30, 2009
      Miami, FL
      Club:
      Orlando City SC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Really? I highly doubt even scrub players would sign up to deliberately suffer a career-threatening injury just to help the team out.
       
      Miguel Myers repped this.
    14. VFish

      VFish Member+

      Jan 7, 2001
      Atlanta, GA
      Club:
      Atlanta

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      You miss the point, I think players would be feigning injuries more than they do already if it would be advantageous for the team to sub. I mean how can you diagnose torn ligaments on the field? Even a fake concussion would be impossible to determine.
       
    15. BocaFan

      BocaFan Member+

      Aug 18, 2003
      Brooklyn, NY

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      A 48-team WC necessitates a "dumb" format one way or the other. So saying you don't mind the expansion but don't like the format is a bit contradictory. The neat & tidy 32-team format was almost universally liked. If the # of teams is not a power of 2, the format is inevitably and objectively worse.
       
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    16. Paul Calixte

      Paul Calixte Moderator
      Staff Member

      Orlando City SC
      Apr 30, 2009
      Miami, FL
      Club:
      Orlando City SC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Ah, I get you. There would have to be a protocol where a neutral doctor informs the ref that the injury meets a threshold for allowing a free sub - and yes, implementing that would be tricky as hell.
       
    17. Miguel Myers

      Miguel Myers Member+

      Dec 3, 2011
      Club:
      Club América
      Nat'l Team:
      Mexico
      #42 Miguel Myers, Jul 31, 2018
      Last edited: Jul 31, 2018

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      It would not be as hard as your making out imo.

      If a players foot is backwards, I think a referee judgement to give the team a non-penalized sub would be appropriate.

      For concussions, non-team based medic could evaluate the player off the field. You think a team would want their player purposely off the field, down to 10 men for, let’s say, 5 mins just to get a sub?

      Or let’s get really extreme - for players with a torn ligament. Once they’re taken off, get a confirmation. You can tell with swelling and other diagnoses. Once that is done THEN they can relay it to the referee. But let’s say that takes 15 mins...is that really an advantage?
       
    18. VFish

      VFish Member+

      Jan 7, 2001
      Atlanta, GA
      Club:
      Atlanta

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      This would be impossible:

      1. Now we need a 5th referee who is a medical doctor.
      2. Teams already often play a man down for 5 minutes when a player is injured. Have you never seen players get stitches on the sideline rather than burn a sub? What is to stop them from faking injury to get a sub?
      3. And let's say a player blows out his ACL, not as the result of a foul, but simply running around and making a cut. Is it really fair that one team gets to make a sub but the other doesn't.

      I can think of 1000 other situations where this would be more than problematic.
       
    19. Miguel Myers

      Miguel Myers Member+

      Dec 3, 2011
      Club:
      Club América
      Nat'l Team:
      Mexico

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Ok u win
       
    20. Roger Allaway

      Roger Allaway Member+

      Apr 22, 2009
      Warminster, Pa.
      Club:
      Philadelphia Union
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      FIFA sets the bar for suspension from accumulated yellow cards much lower than do most major pro leagues (which call for suspension after four or five yellows, while the World Cup calls for suspension after two). Then FIFA instructs referees not to give too many yellows because suspensions detract from the appeal of games. This doesn't make sense. Why not raise the bar. Raising it to four or five probably would be impractical in a short tournament like the World Cup, but three might be good. Certainly better than two.
       
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    21. Battler

      Battler Member

      Aug 30, 2007

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      The only change I want to see to VAR is to lower the amount of reviewable actions. There is still too much variation in referees minds as to what constitutes serious foul play or handling to make anything "clear and obvious." I'd love VAR if the only reviewable items were violent conduct, mistaken identity, and goals. Everything else is too subjective.
       
    22. BocaFan

      BocaFan Member+

      Aug 18, 2003
      Brooklyn, NY

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Its not that the bar is lower in the WC, its just that there are fewer games. In a league you can go 36 games and only collect 4 yellow cards (i.e. 1 yellow every 9 matches), but you would still be at risk of being suspended for perhaps a crucial match at the end of the season if you get one more yellow.

      In the WC you need to pick-up 2 yellows in 5 matches to get suspended, so the bar is actually higher.
       
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    23. It's called FOOTBALL

      May 4, 2009

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      Not at all. I said I disliked the R32, but not the expansion, mainly because I no longer have the time to follow WCQ like I used to. WCQ will be rendered as meaningless as the NBA regular season now, so having to miss a bunch of games won't be a big deal.

      The R32 idea is idiotic, just have group winners advance to the R16. I dislike that, don't mind the expansion, that is not contradictory.


      Saying that having 48 teams rather than 32 is objectively worse, is valid, but casuals won't care. Most of the world are casuals. not hardcores like this forum, and I used to be.

      Gone are the days where I'd wake up to catch Australia's WCQ game, then watch Asian, then European, S. American, then cap it all off with CONCACAF WCQ at the end of the day.
       
    24. EvanJ

      EvanJ Member+

      Manchester United
      United States
      Mar 30, 2004
      Nassau County, NY
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      The hardest competition to avoid suspensions is a lot of WCQs. CONMEBOL and the top AFC teams played 18 and the top CONCACAF teams played 16. The amount of yellows you get suspended for in WCQs should go up to 3 or 4 or they should give everybody a clear slate after the first group stage in CONCACAF and AFC. CONMEBOL just has one round, so they could give everybody a clean slate after 9 games.
       
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    25. Paul Calixte

      Paul Calixte Moderator
      Staff Member

      Orlando City SC
      Apr 30, 2009
      Miami, FL
      Club:
      Orlando City SC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Changes I'd make to football following the World Cup

      By David Bolt on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM
      I don't know about that. Now, if you're talking about Mexico, then yes, 19 times out of 20, they'll cakewalk their way to the World Cup. The 20th time, you have that scene of Oswaldo Sánchez begging the Hondurans to take their foot off the pedal so that Mexico could make the Hex :cautious: And yes, I'm fully aware that the US and Costa Rica have had their semifinal-round scares as well.

      But for the teams that now will be hovering around the last qualifying spots in their confederations - the likes of Burkina Faso, the Cape Verde Islands, the Solomon Islands, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti? - there will still be plenty of drama in store.
       

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