Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Blatter Is Miles Off

After reading that the President of Fifa is considering removing the offside rule. I couldn't think of a more damaging change to the rules of football.

It is reported that Sepp Blatter had in depth talks with a hockey official over how the abolishment of the offside rule had changed hockey.

Hockey has not had the offside rule since 1998, and although the official said that Blatter did not mention any thoughts or ideas for scrapping the offside rule in football, he was very interested to see how it had affected hockey.

Now I have no complaints with Blatter talking to experts of other sports trying to improve football, but the idea of eradicating the offside rule seems ridiculous.

I know that it's not any ones favourite rule in football and can causes blood pressure of fans and managers to shoot through the roof at times. But without it football would be a completely different game. It would became a game just like that played in a school playground; with people hanging around the goal and waiting for any the ball to be booted towards them where they would only have the keeper to beat.

Tactics would change to long ball kicks to the big man who can finish at the top of the pitch. Making the short passing, possession retaining football of Barcelona and Arsenal almost void as their play is centred around carving out chances to split the line of defences.

Hockey has become a more exciting game without the offside rule, with more chances and goals created as well as more space around the pitch available. However, in hockey, it is a greater challenge to get the ball above head height or to chip it over people. Whereas in football a simple punt can get the ball high into the air, taking a number of people out of the game with ease.

I am not saying that without the offside rule that football would require no skill; the likes of Xabi Alonso and Paul Scholes would still tear teams apart with pin point long passes. However, other skills such as stepping up to make an attacker offside or timing a run would become a thing of the past and dribbling and skills may take a back seat to getting the ball forward quickly.

The offside rule is by no means perfect, but to get rid of it completely seems very drastic. Fifa could alter the rule or use technology to reduce the number of incorrect decisions and give a concrete on/off decision that players and managers wouldn't be able to argue with. The only problem with this idea is that there is no saying that the technology would be 100% accurate and how and when do you implement it?

If Mr Blatter does stumble upon this post (I hear he is a secret admirer of my blog), I would make sure you think long and hard about changing the offside rule.