Starting with VAR; it is a system that was established to clarify certain aspects of dispute during a match and reduce the possibility of match officials making errors that can dramatically affect a result. So how’s that going?
The way I understand it is, something happens, match officials see it or don’t see it, VAR can then crash the party and reverse decisions or refer it back to the referee who can then leave the pitch and review his original decision. This process takes time during which nobody in the stadium has a clue about what is happening.
The more open to interpretation a rule is, the more confusing it becomes and the less effective it is. At the moment there appears to be no more clarity with VAR than there was before VAR. Although this system has only been in operation for a fairly short time, many of its faults have been repeated many times with little sign of addressing them. There is obviously much work still to be done and I’m not sure how the powers that be are going to do it.
The offside rule is something that we would expect to be as easily judged as goal-line technology. But that does not seem to be the case. A straight line across the field on the screen should make offside decisions easy. But, in reality, that’s not always the case. Should a finger/toe, nose, etc, make it offside. There have been many on-field debates to determine this during matches. What seems to be obviously clear to the multitude seems to been completely missed by the officials …. and they are the ones that matter.
One offside rule that is always open to interpretation is whether or not a player is interfering with play? If an offside player is anywhere between the goalkeeper and the player with the ball, the goalkeeper must, sometimes, consider him in the equation when he decides what to do about dealing with a shot on goal. That is another contentious situation because officials can read this scenario differently.
Maybe the game would be less complicated and more exciting if the offside rule did not exist. If someone wants to ‘goal-hang’ then it’s up to the defence to deal with it. It’s the same at both ends after all. This could result in more goals and therefore more excitement for the fans. Of course, both teams could park the bus which might end in more 0-0 results. Who knows? But there would be less time-wasting decisions required.
Another rule change that has occurred through the years concerns substitutions. Some will remember the time there were no subs allowed (which adversely affected the 1961 Cup final for Leicester). Subsequently, one, two, and now three became the rule. I recently saw an article saying that PL clubs had voted against a proposed increase to five subs. What would such a rule change mean?
For the top money clubs, who usually have more games because of European commitments, it makes sense. But how would that affect the Premier League. Top clubs could have five game-changers sitting on the bench whilst less financial clubs (which is most of them) could have one or two such players and three or four average players on the bench. Surely that would widen the gap even further between clubs in the PL. It would be interesting to know what each club voted for. Personally I think three subs should be enough, but it’s arguable.
Like I said, the more confusing rules become the less effective they are. At the moment there appears to be quite a lot of confusion …. and there shouldn’t be. I’m not advocating anything, just opening a discussion.