Football is widely regarded as the most popular team sport. Moreover, anyone can not only watch matches with football stars, but also take part in it themselves. You don’t need special equipment for a full game: just a ball and some fun company.
Both bookmakers and sports betting companies offer the widest coverage of football matches. Especially if it is a global event: Champions League, UEFA Cup, World Cup. There are also betting shops that specialise mainly in football matches. This is usually where you will find an extensive line-up of games and the most favourable odds.
To keep football at the peak of popularity, we have to adjust to the demands of the modern public. Football players sign multimillion-dollar advertising contracts to stay in the limelight. Marketers popularise football by creating computer games based on it.
Today, fans are demanding speed, eventful play and simple rules. Such demands have triggered a real upheaval in the world of great football: the Dutch authorities, together with the International Football Association, have decided to revise the classic approach to basic requirements.
Football as a separate sport was first registered in 1864. At the same time, the Football Association of England published a list of rules for the game. It has been amended several times over the 150 years:
- initially, any player from the team who was closest to his goal could take the place of the goalkeeper;
- there was no concept of a “corner” kick;
- even the most gross violation of the rules was not punished by the removal of the player from the field;
- substitutions were introduced only in the 50s, and before that, the team ended the match with the main team.
To date, the current rules are clear to everyone and cannot be interpreted ambiguously. However, the organisers, referees and players have all come to the conclusion that the rules of football matches are outdated and need an updated version.
What to expect in the near future?
The Royal Dutch Football Association was the first sports organisation to take up the challenge with optimism. As it turns out, testing of a new set of rules has been taking place in amateur football since 2017. And the other day, its head, Jan Dirk Van Der Zee, announced excellent results and the country’s readiness to introduce changes in professional football.
Of course, this is not a matter of one day: they will be able to try out the innovations only in the 2023/2024 season on the teams of the 2nd division of the country. The main emphasis is on the speed and entertainment of matches in order to increase the interest of the audience.
Many fans point out that in a classic 90-minute match, the ball game takes up at best half of the game. There are also meetings where there is complete calm until the final whistle. Often there are situations where the players deliberately stall for time. No one is interested in watching the long showdown and the grimaces.
Of course, football players cannot show a dynamic game for 90 minutes in a row. Therefore, shortening the match by 30 minutes seems like a logical consequence. It is not yet clear how exactly the innovations will affect the professional betting game.
Key offerings from IFAB
The International Football Association, together with representatives of professional football in the Netherlands, has already compiled a list of key innovations. The changes concern not only time, but also the rules themselves:
- a football player has the right to pass a pass to himself, punching a free kick or a corner;
- the player has the ability to take a goal kick even when the ball is in motion;
- the scoreboard with the clock will be synchronized with the chief referee’s clock. When the ball is out of play, the referee only needs to press a button and the game time will stop;
- the football match will consist of two halves of 30 minutes each. Between them there is a break of 15 minutes.
The administration of well-known football clubs also speaks in favor of shortening the playing time and simplifying the rules. The presidents of Napoli and Real Madrid adhere to a similar position.
Aurelio De Laurentiis in his speech focused on the interests of the younger generation. Computer games are developed in an accelerated mode, and therefore young football fans are disappointed when watching a regular game. Therefore, it is so important not to delay the game, but to make it as spectacular and interesting as possible.
Retired football referee, Mark Clattenburg, has recently become a well-known media personality. In his interviews, he has often called for a shortening of “clean” playing time. He has advocated the idea of “freezing” time when the ball is out of play. It is enough for the chief referee to press a button on his wrist watch in order to resolve controversial issues with the players without prejudice to the game. The same principle applies to the provision of medical care in case of injury.
According to the experienced referee, he has often encountered situations in his career when players from the team in front have deliberately delayed a showdown or simulated pain syndrome when injured. For the spectators, such tactics are not enjoyable.
Key changes to the classic rules of football
- First of all, the game will soon be shortened to 60 minutes. The match will consist of two 30-minute halves and include a 15-minute break.
- When the ball is found out of play, time will be stopped, as in basketball. The match will last exactly 60 minutes without extra time.
- The head coach can make as many substitutions as he deems necessary. According to the current rules, 3 players can be substituted for the whole match. If extra time is awarded, then 1 more substitution is allowed.
- The ball can be kicked into play after a touch and a free-kick. This also includes relaxations such as passing to yourself and playing the ball away from goal. The head of global football development at FIFA believes that such changes will help make the game’s regulations less cumbersome: the fewer the rules, the brighter the battle.
- It will now be possible to use dribbling on the free-kick. According to the players themselves, this is the most important point.
- Upon receiving a yellow card, the player will in any case be sent off the field for 5 minutes. This innovation is borrowed from hockey and is aimed at maintaining discipline.
The changes to the rule book are still only on paper, but the Netherlands are almost ready for a gradual introduction of innovations in professional football. The first step in this direction is planned for the 2023/2024 season.