Nigel French
Think Tank

30-minute halves? Playing free-kicks to yourself? Radical football reforms proposed

Penalty kicks could also be changed if suggestions are passed by the game’s lawmakers.

THE INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL Association Board (IFAB), which is responsible for the final decisions on the game’s rules and regulations, are proposing some changes, a handful of which are quite radical.

The headline-maker is the suggestion of two 30-minute halves, with the referee stopping the clock when a ball is inactive. The proposed change is an acknowledgement that in a 90-minute game, the ball is only active for less than an hour.

It’s a wider reflection on IFAB’s desire to clamp down on time-wasting.

Other ideas would see an in-game penalty follow the same rules as in a shootout, e.g, a rebound from an upright, crossbar or the goalkeeper would be outlawed. If a penalty isn’t scored directly, the game restarts with a goal kick.

Referees will be encouraged to monitor the goalkeeper’s six-second rule more carefully and also for players to leave the pitch in an area closest to them instead of walking to the half-way line when being substituted.

The proposals are part of a new, lengthy, wide-ranging IFAB strategic document entitled Play Fair, designed to improve the quality of the game over the next five years.

There are other proposals too.

empj83 / YouTube

One would see a player being able to play a free-kick, corner or goal-kick to himself/herself  while another would enforce the rule that a referee can only blow the whistle for half-time or full-time when the ball goes out of play.

Some others are already being trialled, like the new pattern for penalty shootouts.

The various suggestions will now be discussed by IFAB before any decision will be made on whether to trial and introduce the changes.

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