No off-sides or extra time, sin bins and penalty shootouts starting outside the box are among radical proposals for football put forward by FIFA technical director Marco Van Basten.
The former AC Milan and Netherlands striker has tried to start a debate around some key areas of the game by proposing eight changes:
1. Scrap the offside rule
2. Scrap extra time for cup games and go straight to penalties
3. Penalty shoot-outs from 25m with eight seconds to dribble and shoot
4. Introduce orange cards to sin-bin players for 10 minutes
5. Stop the clock every time the ball goes out in the last 10 minutes
6. Only allow captains to speak to referees
7. Limit players to no more than 60 matches per season
8. Limit all children’s games to eight-a-side
The most controversial proposal is scrapping the offside rule, which has been part of the game since 1863 but Van Basten believes is making the ruining the game as a spectacle.
“I think it can be very interesting watching a game without offside”, said the 1992 FIFA World Player of the Year.
“Football now is already looking a lot like handball with nine or ten defenders in front of the goal. It’s difficult for the opposition to score a goal as it’s very difficult to create something in the small pieces of space they give you. So if you play without offside you get more possibilities to score a goal.”
Marco van Basten's got some new ideas for football. What do you make of them? pic.twitter.com/MdLKVghbTC
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) January 20, 2017
On changes to the penalty shootout rule, Van Basten suggested: “Maybe the player should start 25 metres from goal and then you can dribble the goalkeeper or shoot early. But you have to make a goal within eight seconds. It’s more skill and less luck. It’s maybe a bit more spectacular. It’s more football but it’s still nervous for the player.”
A number of Premier League managers have spoken out against the proposals, with the offside rule change drawing the most criticism.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “Offside is what makes the team good together. It is an intelligent rule as well, it is important to keep that in the game. Overall football improves, people say it is too tight and compact but football has always been like that, defence creates a problem for the attack and the attack find a solution.”
Christian Gourcuff, head coach of French side Rennes, went a step further than his fellow Frenchman, describing the proposal as “the worst crap I have read a long time,”
“It’s immeasurable bulls**t,” he added. “We would return to the time of village versus village, and at the time it ended with players being killed. The offside rule is fundamental. If you do not understand that, you do not understand football.”
Thankfully some people have managed to see the funny side, taking to Twitter with some suggestions of their own:
More from Marco Van Basten on his proposed rule changes… pic.twitter.com/2L2h7X89x8
— TheODDSbible (@TheOddsBible) January 19, 2017
We can certainly see the merits in some of Van Basten’s proposals. At the very least, it’s always good to have a debate to try and improve the game, so what do you think of the suggestions?
No offside? Sin bins? Maximum eight-a-side for all kids’ football?
Tell us what you think about any of the proposals in the comments section below.