Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Soccer, but more exciting

Before I give my opinion on soccer after watching quite a few games let me just say that I have become a huge Bafana Bafana supporter. What this soccer event is doing for nation building is astonishing, but I am starting to finalize my opinion on soccer as a game. I am still a very much a layman when it comes to interpreting the game and the skills required for a team to be considered a good team, but after a week of watching the world's best teams, I have some suggestions to improve the game. This might convince more people to watch it, and make the game more exciting as well.

1) Reduce the playing time to 20 minutes-a-side. Ninety minutes is way too long for spectators to sit around doing nothing only to see one or two goals being scored. In the world we live in today time is money, and these guys don't produce enough results in 90 minutes to allow so much wasted time.

2) I know that reducing the time will also reduce the scoring, so I think that if the goalkeeper is removed then it will solve that problem. I feel sorry for the goal keepers, I think they have the worst jobs in this business. They work very hard preventing the balls from reaching the net and when they miss one ball like the dude from England did, then the media slaughters him like he has just insulted the Queen. Apart from that, it is very annoying to watch when a team dribbles the ball all the way through the defence only to find a player that has the right to stop the ball with his hands. If there is no goal keeper, then both sides will score much more and the game will be much faster and much more exciting.

3) Rugby has a much quicker version called Seven-a-side. They have reduced the number of players to seven, resulting in a much faster game with more scoring. If they reduce the number of a players in soccer too we will have less interference from the opponents and see more goals. Less players also means less people to pay, which in return could lead to lower ticket prices.

4) I always wondered what the teams do in the ten minutes between halves, but now I know. They run to the nearest television set to listen to the advice the commentators give during the half-time break. I have never seen people who knows so much about the games than these guys. I wonder why they were not coaching if they were so clever, because they can tell you exactly what the players are doing wrong, sometimes even telling the viewers what the players were thinking when they performed a certain move. The teams would benefit a lot of they follow these guys' advice. But for the viewers this is ten minutes of pure agony. If they make the game shorter, then a break would not be required and viewers would not have to listen to the commentators and so-called analysts. So, my suggestion is to get rid of the ten minute break.

5) Standardize the salaries of players. If all players received the same wages, then you won't have guys that reach celebrity status like Ronaldo. In his game against Korea he spend more time looking at himself in the big screen than actually scoring. BTW, I was quite disappointed in this soccer star that earns more than our own President. Soccer players in general are being paid too much, because kicking a ball around for ninety minutes and scoring only once tells me they are overpaid.

6) Introduce a play-until-win rule. With the above alterations to the game there will definitely be more scoring opportunities. If it happens that teams draw, then the rule should be that the game continues until the first team scores again. I don't see the point of playing for 90 minutes and then no one walks away as the winner. The outcome by flipping a coin is more exciting than watching a ninety minute came with no winner at the end.

7) Do away with the penalty shot. It is very unfair to allow players to push and trip all around the field, but when it is done near the goal posts then all of a sudden it becomes a penalty shot. This shot is hardly ever missed, so it is basically nothing more than a bonus point. If the penalty shot is to stay, then change the value of different scoring shots. A goal that was shot from outside the goal area should be worth 3 points, from inside the goal area two points, and a penalty shot only one. This way the chances of a draw would also be reduced considerably.

8) My last suggestion might just change the whole nature of the game. Allow players to pick up the ball and run with it. If a player gets to the goal post he can just put the ball down for five points. Players are allowed to tackle their opponents. Change the shape of the ball to allow it to bounce in any direction. This would revolutionize the game and make it much more exciting to watch.

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