Football Is Changing!

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/RICHARD HEATHCOTE
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/RICHARD HEATHCOTE

Over the last week or so, football has seen some pretty big decisions made that should make the future of the sport a lot better. I think that many have probably gone under the radar, so I thought I would catch you all up with a simplistic look at what new rules and regulations are going to be put in place.

FIFA Reforms

CREDIT: EPA/PATRICK B. KRAEMER
CREDIT: EPA/PATRICK B. KRAEMER

On Friday 26th February, we found out that Sepp Blatter’s successor as president of FIFA would be Gianni Infantino, previously UEFA general secretary. It was the first step in turning around the corrupt organisation, but there were also many reforms passed on that day that went a bit unnoticed because of Infantino’s appointment. However, they were actually very important, with FA Chairman Greg Dyke stating that “The reforms are more important than who is the president.” as they give FIFA the chance “to start again”. Even the official website of the governing body described them as “landmark reforms that pave the way for significant improvements to the governance of global football”. So what are they you ask?

Disclosure of salaries

This will happen on an annual basis for the FIFA President, all FIFA council members, the secretary general and relevant chairpersons of independent standing and judicial committees. Sepp Blatter’s salary was never disclosed, but it was estimated that he was earning around $10 million a year. The ridiculous thing is, he was still being paid this until Infantino was elected, despite being banned from football.

Presidents limited to three terms of four years

This applies to the FIFA president, FIFA council members and members of the audit and compliance committee and of the judicial bodies. Sepp Blatter served five terms (an unprecedented amount) as FIFA president dating back to 1998, making him feel comfortable in his position which he was able to exploit. Meanwhile, his predecessor Joao Havelange was in office for 24 years. In the last 54 years, FIFA has had three presidents. In the next 54, there’ll be a minimum of four.

Separation of political and managerial functions

The elected FIFA council will replace the discredited executive committee and will be responsible for setting the organisation’s overall strategic direction. The general secretariat will oversee the operational and commercial actions needed to implement the strategy. This should see more independent checks on individuals and committees about their integrity and eligibility.

Promotion of women in football

A minimum of one female representative will be elected as a council member per confederation. This is great news after the Women’s World Cup last year had great success, whilst it marks a separation from that villain Blatter again, who has said some pretty sexist things in the past such as ““Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty if you excuse me for saying so.” Idiot.

I would also highly recommend a watch of this short video made by FIFA themselves:

Goal Line Technology

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/AFP/FRANCK FIFE
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/AFP/FRANCK FIFE

Goal line technology already exists in the Premier League and is working really well, but UEFA announced on Friday that it would be used in this season’s Champions League and Europa League finals. In January, they announced that the technology would be used in next season’s Champions League and at Euro 2016, but have brought forward the decision for Europe’s showpiece games in 2015-16. This is great news considering that UEFA have previously depended on an extra official standing on the goalline deciding on whether the ball went in, which has occasionally caused controversy. It can never be entirely accurate as there’s only so much the naked eye can see.

IFAB Rule Changes

CREDIT: AP/ROB HARRIS
CREDIT: AP/ROB HARRIS

Personally, I hadn’t heard of the IFAB before this news on Saturday (is that a bad thing?). If you’re the same, then they are made up of the four British football associations and FIFA who decide the laws of the game. That basically sounds like an ‘exclusive club’ version of FIFA. Anyway, they’ve unanimously approved a comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game – an 18-month project, led by former English referee David Elleray. It is the most comprehensive revision of the laws undertaken during the IFAB’s 130-year existence. Some of these may surprise you…

Video Referees

For me, this is the biggest one. New FIFA president Gianni Infantino is a big advocate of it, so it’s no surprise that the IFAB have announced that they will test video referees just days after his appointment. A trial of the use of video assistant referees for “game-changing decisions” in football will begin no later than the 2017-18 season. Technology would only be applied to key incidents concerning goals, red cards, mistaken identities and penalties. Normal offsides wouldn’t be checked, but goals can be reviewed so if there is a potential offside in the build-up to a goal, it can be inspected. It would certainly make the job of referees a lot easier, but the only concern is that it would disrupt the flow of a game. This has been recognised by the IFAB, who have stressed that if this is case during tests, then it would not be implemented on a full-time basis.

Penalties

The IFAB are tackling (no pun intended) of the ‘triple punishment rule’ after a penalty is awarded. Currently, there is a sending off, penalty and suspension for the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity within the penalty area. The new rules state that if the defending goalkeeper or defender makes an obvious challenge for the ball the punishment is downgraded to a yellow card rather than an automatic red one – a spot-kick and, possible goal against their team, is deemed sufficient. However, this would not apply when the offence is holding, pushing or pulling, the defender does not attempt to play the ball or the offence would be worthy of a red card if it had been committed elsewhere in the penalty area.

Another change concerns the current rule that if a penalty kicker tries to deceive the goalkeeper by stopping and starting in his run-up, the right to have a retake is removed. When the the new regulations are put in place, the defending team will be awarded an indirect free-kick and the attacking player will be yellow carded. If goalkeepers move off their line they will also be yellow carded.

Injured Players

If a player is injured and the defender who made the bad tackle is shown a red or yellow card, treatment can be given on the pitch, rather than on the sidelines. This means that there is no numerical advantage to the offending team, which seems perfectly fair.

Substitutions

There will be an experimentation with a fourth substitution within extra time, although the league or competition for the trial is yet to be decided. Officials will see if this is used tactically.

Kick-Off

The new rules also state that when taking kick-off, players will be able to move the ball in any direction, rather than just forward.

Sin Bins – REJECTED

The sin bin rule that is currently used in rugby was also discussed at the IFAB conference in Cardiff, but it was agreed that it would only continue in minor age-group matches and not at the higher, senior level.


What do you make of the changes to the game? Are you pleased with the new rules and regulations and introduction of more technology? Or are some of them plain stupid? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @OllyAllen1998/@IFNSBlog!

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