Top ten football rule changes – part 2

Posted by - March 8, 2011 - Lists


In planning the final five, it became evident fairly quickly that this could have been a list of twenty or thirty things. Anyway (and I am deliberately avoiding the horrible Americanisation ‘anyhow’) let’s plough on…

6. Undisclosed transfer fees
An epitome of football’s negligent attitude towards accountable and responsible football finance. If a football club spends money on a player, then surely their fans, other clubs and the football community deserves to know how much has been spent on the asset?

The reason for the undisclosed nature is clear. Either the buying club does not want the football public to see that they have overpaid for a player, or the selling club does not want its fans to think that they have let one of their stars go for a meagre or miserly fee. A fee is only generally disclosed if both parties feel that they have got a fair deal out of the transfer.

Whilst these points of view are clearly understandable, authorities must surely instigate a level of influence. FIFA’s financial fair play rules require an increased degree of transparency. The first way to persuade Joe Public that this is occurring would be to remove such an obvious veiling of information.

7. Higher punishments for disrespect to referees
Take any child in England (not literally), and ask him who his hero is. Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand. Just look at how they treat the only person of genuine authority on the football field. It seems like an outdated opinion, but it is truly disgusting.

I don’t have any children, which I know about anyway, but it is an understandable position for a parent to not want to sit near the pitch at a Premier League match.

The reason such behaviour occurs is because it is allowed to occur. Football is not rugby. Its background is more middle class and its players a generally more educated. But instilling a sense of respect to officials has to occur.

The FA’s Laws of the Game state: “A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he uses offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.”

Start issuing red cards. Next time you watch a match on TV, just casually count the swears.

8. Names on shirts
This a little pedantic, I grant you. But why is Javier Hernandez Balcazar allowed ‘Chicarito’ on his shirt? Or Christian Benitez with ‘Chucho’? Or Julien Escude with ‘sqd’ (see what he did there)? Or Neil Ruddock having ‘razor’ on the back of his Palace shirt back in the day?

Without being a killjoy, it just sets a worrying precedent allowing players to have nicknames on shirts. And with Lee Bowyer looking like he may be released by Birmingham in the summer, some football league club is going to have to stock up on the letters N, T, U and C.

9. Fit and Proper Person Test
Thaksin Shinawatra. Peter Risdale. Munto Finance. Hicks and Gillett. Anyone at Portsmouth reasonably recently. It is a test easier to get a positive on than a Premier League player in an STI clinic.

Take Denis Coleman, for example, whose bid for Rotherham United was blocked because he had been on the board for previous administrations. But Coleman, a boyhood fan, had helped eliminate 99% of the club’s debt, saving the club when liquidation seemed inevitable.

Is that really what the test should conclude? That a man seemingly with clubs’ interests at heart are abandoned in favour of a foreign investor with a dubious human rights record or a Middle Eastern consortium with no funds or means of generating any?

Thought not.

10. Fourth officials using replays
I guess that this is the big one, the zenith. Not simply the use of technology for goal line calls, but allowing the fourth official to review controversial incidents before advising the referee. I think that the argument is thus: if Glenn Hoddle or Barry Horne can gain insight into a decision within five seconds, then the referee deserves to.

And the argument that governing bodies want football to be the same at grassroots level as at Premier League level is a moot point. At 10am yesterday I had to pick up a dog turd with my hand in a Tesco carrier bag. I’d love to see Rooney doing that.