In my lifetime I?ve gone from soccer player/lover to someone who finds it very difficult to watch the modern game.
We?ve heard numerous complaints about the lack of goals, poor refereeing and player showmanship which has put world soccer in the same league as the World Wrestling Federation.
In my opinion, soccer can no longer be called ?The Beautiful Game? because FIFA and many coaches have allowed the following negatives to spoil the game:
- The style of play has become overly defensive and therefore unattractive.
- Players have become a bunch of mollycoddled showmen who are allowed to dive, sham injury and insult the officials.
- Changes to the rules that permit spoiling, e.g. obstruction with arms and elbows and shirt-tugging.
Needless to say the object of the game is to score goals in order to win. To achieve this you have to attack the opponent?s goal. But today?s style of play negates this. Much of the game is taken up in back-passing and wasting time because of players feigning injury.
Last night?s match between Italy and Slovakia is a case in point. When Italy cranked up the pressure in the last 20 minutes by played attacking football they came close to pulling the match out of the fire. As a team who had to win that match why didn?t they come out with all guns blazing from the kick-off? But no, it was pass back, pass back. Well, they only have themselves to blame, Ciao Italy!
So, what can be done to restore the beautiful game to its former glory? I?d suggest that the rules be changed to incorporate the following:
1. Referees need help. Technology as is used in rugby should be introduced on a trial basis to authenticate crucial decisions. This will require a fourth official ? a TV referee.
2. Players must be penalised for showmanship. There should be a new rule permitting referees to send players off for 10 minutes for feigning injury. For example, if a player is ?fouled? and goes down writhing but is able to continue playing within a few minutes without obvious ill-effects, the TV alerts the on-field referee who sends that player off when next there?s a stop in play. That?ll stop all this nonsense.
3. All spoiling tactics must be banned.
4. The awarding of a bonus point for winning a game by two clear goals or more.
The game needs a total face-lift now if it isn?t to become a total farce. I?m hoping that many more fans will voice their disapproval and that by virtue of this the powers that be will sit up and take notice. But I have a feeling that we shouldn?t hold our breath. FIFA?s coining it so why change things? But it?s the fans who should have the last word.