Monday, June 29, 2015

Will FIFA Reconstruction Expedite the Americanization of Soccer?

After the FIFA implosion of 2015, will the reconstruction of the organization allow for progressive ideas to give the game a higher scoring average?

Any talk about the Americanization of the game carries one central tenet: scoring must increase.  In order for the game to be a year-round success with casual American sports fans, more goals will always be the answer.

After the dust has settled, I expect FIFA to remain in charge of the sport of soccer and I don't expect a lot of changes to the way it governs.  But, I do expect Qatar to lose the 2022 World Cup.

Purist and traditionalist fans of soccer (the ones who don't want any rules changes and think the game is perfect the way it is) have been ignorant to the fact that they have been supporters to the corruption of FIFA all along.  

If FIFA had been a transparent organization over the last forty years, the rules of the game would have already progressed considerably.  

New advisory panels are proof of how much FIFA took any contemporary ideas off the table for decades.  Hopefully, these panels are able to flourish under reconstruction.

There may be one aspect to the status quo of FIFA that will change under reconstruction.  I believe FIFA will be less likely to mettle into the affairs of individual leagues when it comes to altering the rules of the game in subtle ways. In this way, the post-Blatter FIFA may be different.

For example, if a league wants to have more substitutions per game than the three currently permitted by FIFA rules, I don't see the newly reconstructed FIFA threatening to ban players from international play for continuing to play in that league.  Over the many years of FIFA control, leagues and players have been threatened by FIFA for trying to make subtle changes to rules.    

My hope is that FIFA eventually comes around to how FIBA (International Basketball) handles their international play for when there are differences in the rules of leagues among countries.  When FIBA had a trapezoid painted key for years, the NBA's rectangle painted key was never a problem. FIBA tournaments were always played with the trapezoid key until the rule was changed a couple years back.  Even now, the NBA rule for goaltending is different than the FIBA rule.  Still, there are no problems between FIBA and the NBA when it comes to goaltending as NBA players must adjust when they play FIBA tournaments.  

Any leeway given by FIFA to countries for how they want to administrate their leagues is a good thing.  I don't want the sport of soccer to become unrecognizable, but if a league in a country had ideas to make rules changes that made the sport look completely different on the field, it still shouldn't matter, because it's their league (A competitive league should have every right to form and look more or less like soccer, if it came to that situation).

The bottom line is that all the countries have their guiding associations (USSF for the U.S.) that prepare teams to be represented in FIFA-owned tournaments, including WC qualifiers, under the same rules worldwide.  

Any changes to the sport at the individual league or country level won't and shouldn't matter anyways when it comes to the World Cup.  


  1. Americans who don't understand "soccer" and want to change the rules represent a far greater threat to the beautiful game than FIFA, by several orders of magnitude. For the life of me I cannot understand why people who don't appreciate "soccer" always want to change the game. Why don't they leave the game alone and go watch something else?

  2. Well, the USA have a long history and a rather good track record of organizing professional sports. Consequently, it might not be the worst of ideas to tap into this kind of experience when restructuring FIFA.
    Some aspects of the current rules, like seemingly arbitrary time-keeping and the under-refereed state of the game on a professional level, have seen heavy criticism from American sports enthusiasts. It would be premature to dismiss it just because it comes from a country which wasn't all that into soccer until recently. Americans know and love their pro sports and if they should really develop an interest for soccer then soccer as a sport might actually profit from it.

    1. Elegantly said and written; Mature and well-thought out. Appreciate your contribution.

  3. Americans who don't understand soccer and want to change the rules do represent a threat to the game, but so do non-American fans who are so blinded by tradition that they can't see the simplest problems that have existed in the game for decades. Both sides are very, very wrong when it comes to arguing about rules. One side throws out traditions, and the other completely ignores logic. We need both sides to have a civil conversation when discussing rule changes, and stop hurling insults at each other which have no basis whatsoever. Americans: Stop making suggestions before you've actually watched soccer for a legitimate amount of time and understand some of the deepest-rooted traditions. Non-Americans: Stop acting like there's absolutely nothing wrong with the game, and be open to some criticism from Americans who have some legitimate suggestions.

    1. I like this comment because u r considering both sides. You are a rare breed. I agree with what u say. Fans must watch a considerable amount and a variety of leagues and cups before making suggestions.