I really enjoy watching World Cup soccer, but it’s infuriating at the same time. While many people complain that soccer is boring the non-stop action keeps my attention. I think soccer has two big problems: foul-calling and scoring.
The game is altered far too much by one man with a whistle and a pocket of cards. Because the consequences are so dramatic players flop all the time. And it’s comical the way the sport treats “injuries.” Can you think of another sport where some guys ride off the field on a hand-carried stretcher? When you need a stretcher in American sports there’s always a cart or ambulance involved, along with a backboard. Everyone knows most of these injuries are a farce.
The low-scoring game doesn’t bother me so much, it’s that the way the game is decided doesn’t necessarily reflect the play on the field. It’s common to see the team that dominated the play on the field to lose 1-0.
I have a few rule changes I would like to implement.
–Expand the goals by two meters. Let’s see more shots on goal. With higher scoring this ought lessen the problem of the loser actually winning. Plus, players may be less apt to flop in the box if there’s a higher chance of turning a contested shot into a goal.
–Have a penalty box, like in hockey, instead of cards. This prevent a referee mistake from having such a drastic influence on the match.
Here is my idea: After the game, have a panel of three judges look at the film of the game. If two of them agree that a player dived or faked injury, then charge the yellow or red card to that player instead of the opposing player.
This would increase the cost for choosing to dive or flop. It would also allow soccer to use technology without slowing the game unnecessarily.
One could even think of extending this to situations in which no foul was called or no card was given but a player was, in hindsight, faking injury. Give the player a yellow card after the match. If it is his second, he will miss the next game.
–I’d eliminate the penalty kick for fouls in the box. Give free kicks from wherever the foul takes place. Again, more shots, less flops.
I like soccer, but I think it could be better. I look forward to watching the final.