Monday, 7 May 2012

Bank-Holiday Rule-Change Monday

This idea comes from Fangraph's "Rule Change Friday", an idea to promote discussion on potential rule changes in baseball. I thought this would be good to apply to football. It seems like there has been a lot of controversy recently. So we have a guest blogger, David Weadick, who is not happy with the 2005 changes to the offside rule. I do like to provide balance so here is an article from the Guardian praising those changes for enabling Barcelona and Spain's recent dominance.


The rule I would like to change is the rule regarding the player offside not interfering with play. All players who walk on the pitch are equal in the eyes of the game bar one, the goalkeeper (although it those seem strange to suggest that Gary Caldwell and Ronaldo are equal in any facet of life, on the pitch or off it). The goalkeeper is allowed use his hands in a certain area of the pitch so he is special (All goalkeepers are special, especially the bad ones). Anyway, no player is above another so to give one player an advantage flies against the ideals of the game. Yet the attacker is allowed to break the rules by standing in an offside position while he is not interfering with play.

I have two problems with this. Firstly, if you walk onto the pitch, you are interfering with play. As Brian Clough said, If you are not interfering with play, what are you doing on the pitch in the first place? If a streaker runs onto the pitch, the game is stopped as he/she is deemed to be interfering. Now, I am pretty sure that streakers are not meant to be there but players are. Once you move into an offside position, you are interfering with play - plain and simple, you have committed a foul. The defence has managed to trap you and you should be caught. Hunters don’t let their prey go just because they got caught in the side of the trap and not the middle where they left the bait.

Secondly, as I said earlier, no player bar our beloved keepers is above another. So why do forwards get special allowances? If a forward is twenty yards away from the ball he is deemed not to be interfering with play. However, a defender who is twenty yards away from the ball is interfering with play! That is wrong. Neither of them is near the phase of play but only one of them matters. Both players are interfering with play - they walked out onto the pitch.  We all enjoy watching goals being scored but sometimes you got to give credit to the top class defender. Fabio Cannavaro made it look like an art at times but yet he is undermined by this one sided rule. Football is about winning, not looking good. Nobody ever says it is only a game when their team is winning.

P.S. I have played all my life on goal so I have never experienced the joy of scoring a goal when I was offside (or onside for that matter) although I have been on the receiving end of goals that were scored by breaking this ridiculous rule. 

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