21st May – Out of me box.

The striker is through on goal, he rounds the keeper, who then wrestles him to the floor; the keeper is beaten, a shot is heading towards goal, until a defender dives to save it with his hands; it’s a late free-kick from outside the box, and every player on the pitch is standing between the ball and the goal. The free-kick is poor, but as one of the defenders, standing on the edge of the box, descends from the anticipatory jump he’s made, the ball hits a bump and flicks up against his hand. Five minutes later the VAR official decides that the defender had failed to keep his arm quite close enough to his body during the descent from his fall. What unites all three scenarios? Correct, they all result in penalties. The slate is wiped clean for the offence committed, and in return, the compensation given is a penalty, which, of course, may or may not be scored.

To petition for a change in the (absurd) rules that lead to this position is a fool’s errand – even if you own your own blazer, sports flannels, clipboard and moustache. Better to demand a new rule to add to the mix. They prefer new rules to modifying old ones. They? Imagine a panel of MAGA supporting hard-line, Christian zealots, negotiating edits to the bible.

No, he’s definitely still inside his area

Here’s the first. Do not get involved in all the intricacies of the debate; do not try to convince the fundamentalist pedants that the first two examples given above are more worthy penalties than the third. It’d be like watching Elton John choosing between wigs, incapable of understanding that no-wig was the best option. Instead, just take the debate away from all that, by decreasing the size of the penalty area. It’s already massive, far too big for its purpose, and the wrong shape. Reduce the penalty area to a semi-circle the radius of which measures from the goal line to the penalty spot. To be a penalty, the foul must take place within the area. Suddenly, only fouls that have denied a real chance of scoring a goal will concede a penalty.

Aah, I hear you saying. What about when the goalkeeper scythes down the attacker, through on his own, on the outer perimeters of the box? How can justice be delivered there with your new mini-box?

There is an answer, and the beauty of it, is that it increases justice, for what of the situation when the goalkeeper goes beyond the Outer Siberia of his penalty area, and handles the ball to deny a certain goal? That, under the current situation, only gets a free-kick, yet it’s essentially the same goal-preventing offence as the rugby-tackle a few inches further back.

So, to enhance the hockey-area concept, you do this: notwithstanding what I said earlier, you award degrees of penalties – but now, they’re easy to judge and award, and you will not need to ask a subservient devotee in a hut to replay a video and make a subjective choice. Instead, you simply judge the facts before you. Penalties ‘earned’ inside the (new) area are taken from the penalty spot. Those that were given because a defender handled the ball on the line; or the goalie, or a defender, took the attacker down, when he would otherwise have passed the ball into the net, are taken without a goalkeeper. For all others a goalkeeper is allowed.

Don’t worry love, we’ve got a brand new idea to reduce the size of the box

Then, for offences outside the (new) box, free-kicks, not penalties are awarded, obviously. But again, in the case where the attacker is taken out when otherwise through on his own, he is awarded the free-kick where the offence took place, without a goalie or defender between him and the goal. If the player is taken-out, or the goalie handles the ball outside his area, and there is a covering defender (or defenders) between him and the goal, then for the resulting free-kick, those same defender(s) are allowed to try and defend it. But neither may act as goalie, and they must start the free-kick from the position they were in when the foul was committed. The attacker may choose to take a shot, or alternatively, start dribbling towards the goal, it’s entirely up to him. Like say, if you were making a banana sandwich: you can slice the banana normally, and proceed that way, or, if you prefer, you can slice it very thinly, so that you get both a banana sandwich, and half a banana. Or just eat the banana, raw. Flexible options to suit the modern saver.

Of course, the attacker may be taken out by a last-ditch challenge from a defender rather than the goalie. But the same rules apply, only this time, the goalie gets to defend the free-kick because he was between the attacker and the goal when the offence took place. This can happen with all such incidents – only the players standing between the offence and the goal, at the moment the offence was committed, may defend it. But equally, any attacking player standing level with, or in front of the person fouled, may assist with the resulting free-kick. It means that the punishment fits the crime. The opportunity that is denied, is re-presented.

If you don’t like this idea of graded free-kicks (yes, I know, the pedants will seek to ruin it by over-complicating it), we could instead, have two penalty areas: the original, and the new hockey-semi-circle within it. Offences in the new area get twelve-yard penalties, some contested, others not, as above; offences in the larger area, but outside the semi-circle, get eighteen-yard penalties, again, some contested, some not.

Just think about it, as time moves on, we, as a society, become more sensitive in the way we adapt the punishments to fit the crime – only a few years ago if you failed in an attempt to kill yourself, you were prosecuted and sent to prison, now you’re given a cup of tea, and a leaflet to read.

4 thoughts on “21st May – Out of me box.

  1. I
    think you’re on to something here our beautiful games rules are a sham and need a good coat of looking at.

    These are the fools who thought up the goalkeeper could restart a game from either side of the goal rather than the side the ball went out ….to speed the game up.

    Well that went well didnt it?

    I have a though to improve the game.

    The opposition manager can call a joker and sub a opposition player for 10 mins during a game forcing a “Power play ” as per cricket.(Obvs not the goalie)

    Boy would this boil some piss amongst away fans.

    Keep up the good work maybe link to the FA, Uefa and FIFA if there not fiddling the books somewhere they may be interrested.




  2. I tell you what, that’d be some job, painting out the old lines with green paint, and putting the new ones in. Mind you, watching grass grow and watching the paint dry, will be more entertaining than what we get to see at Old Trafford every week LOL.


  3. Right, when we were kids, right, we did this thing, where if you got a penno but one of the dads who was our manager thought that youd mebbe cheated but wasn’t sure cos he was reading the racing post or smoking, he would make you put on a blindfold and the goalie too and then you had to take the penno an all that. It was a right laff better than the match sometimes and it lasted longer quite often. Then you couldn’t get the blindfold off cos it was on too tight.
    They was great days, seemed to last forever but it was probably only one summer. We had to stop in the end cos he got caught fiddling with kids. Still loved it though.

    Liked by 1 person

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