Monday, April 16, 2012

Should FIFA Change the Rules to Prevent Heart Attacks?

There have been so many severe injuries on the Soccer field that a Wikipedia page is dedicated to all the fallen players.  According to the document, there have been more than 20 players to have died since 1990 from heart ailments while playing.

Last week, another tragedy was felt in Italy, where Piermario Morosini died of cardiac arrest during play.

Can Soccer afford to have any more of these on the field heart problems?

A few weeks back, it was Fabrice Muamba, playing for Bolton of the EPL, who came close to death after heart issues pushed him to the limits during play.

There doesn't appear to be any legitimate response from FIFA, Soccer's governing body, on whether to do anything different to prevent these occurrences from happening.

Should MLS separate itself from FIFA and do things differently?

In the past, when there has been excessive heat, water breaks have been allowed in MLS.  This was a start in breaking from FIFA norms on providing first for the health of the players.

But, these water breaks haven't been instituted regularly or standardized in any way.  They were only thought of as trying to prevent heat strokes on those particular days.

MLS is caught up being dictated to by FIFA, so any extreme deviation from how FIFA regulates the game will be looked at as breaking the rules and sanctions could later be applied to the league.

Water breaks are tame in comparison to other rule-breaking possibilities, like, substitutions that can re-enter the game.

Instead of being considered done for the rest of the game, a substituted player that can come back into the field of play would be drastic in FIFA's eyes, but it may be more suitable to the overall health of players.

FIFA will balk at any suggestions of providing more substitutions because it will argue that these changes go against the history of the sport.

Maybe these changes are what the sport needs.  Subbing in players who have already played is not the end of the world.  There is no legitimate tactical reason for why it shouldn't be allowed.

More subs in general could give the sport a facelift and a heck of a lot more strategy, too.


  1. FIFA's intransigence is assinine. Really? they are against water breaks? The limit on substitutions is just a convenience for Referees more than anything else. There is no logical, tactical or other reason not to loosen the rules on subs., Even a 2 minute break at 22:30, breaking the game into quarters. What is so impossibly radical about that? These are very simple changes that ENHANCE the game and help protect the health of players. Come on FIFA.

  2. A.J. is right. FIFA/FA is just plain hidebound and living in the past. I can see where in the 1890's a single referee had to manage the game, so they limited substitutions. Made sense in 1890. In 2013, when we have modern facilities, video, billion-dollar budgets, TV contracts, extra officials, professional trainers and modern stadium facilities, don't tell me that FIFA/FA couldn't manage in-and-out substitutions and time-outs. It is just plain absurd that water-breaks are not allowed in 90 degree weather. Yes, FIFA's intransigence is assinine.