Sunday, January 22, 2017

Next Most Logical Rules Change for MLS

USMNT's Graham Zusi, at World Cup 2014
The soccer world seems a little shaken up after last week's declaration by FIFA's Marco Van Basten, head of the Technical Development department, who said he is overseeing possible rules changes for offsides, amount of playing time, substitutions, how fouls are handled and deciding tie games. Pundits, players and fans are curious to see the direction FIFA is headed in trying to provide for more 'intentional game action.' This is the perfect time to look at the next most logical big rules change likely to happen in MLS.

What I think should take place in coming seasons in MLS is just an extension of what has already been taking place in past seasons from Liga MX, MLS and the most recent World Cup, water breaks at the 30th and 75th minutes.  Even the Premier League instituted water breaks because of the pressures of not being considered as having 'safe' conditions to play under. It all has to do with the rising temperatures, due to global warming.

The Brazilian court ordered water breaks for the World Cup. It just makes common sense. Typically, in all games throughout the universe, without breaks, the only time players take drinks of water is when a player is down and injured on the field. How ridiculous is that and how ironic.

Water breaks have been happening in MLS since 2011. It only makes sense to carry them on from season to season without having to discuss things further. But, I'm suggesting that the water breaks happen regardless of how hot the weather gets. That's right, regardless of playing in a dome or playing in fall weather, let's have water breaks! One per half seems about right, to get things started.

And, by the way, since we're taking a break, let's allow for unlimited substitutions during this :90-second timeout. Why should it be that with an 18-man roster, fans only get to see 14 of them play. Unlimited substitutions needs to be the rule during this time, not just only one, two or three, as is the norm now.

Oh, and why not grant teams the ability to make money from sponsorships during these water breaks. Televisa suggested commercials during water breaks for Liga MX in 2011.

Look, the reality is that FIFA is loosening its vice grip on leagues and is actively looking for ways to improve its product. It is looking for fresh ideas. Permanent water breaks will give players time to refresh and provide coaches time to implement strategies to improve play and scoring opportunities.

Until the indictments of 2015, the rules of soccer had not evolved in an appropriate manner compared to the other main team sports around the world. Soccer had been stifled by the corruption and status quo of its leadership. Now, there is new transparency, and urgency to get the game caught up to where it should be with its laws/rules.

FIFA is starting to wake up to the realization that it is in the entertainment business. Can MLS do its own business for entertainment purposes?

MLS has already proven that it is willing to be a guinea pig for FIFA, when it can. MLS needs to show more initiation for progressing soccer in the best ways possible and apologize later, if necessary. Although, it's looking like apologies may not be warranted with the new FIFA.

4 comments:

  1. Only nitpick I've always had is why are the water breaks at 30 and 75 minutes? The exact halfway point of each half is 22:30 and 67:30. Therefore, the water breaks should occur roughly around those times to allow for adequate hydration of each "quarter", not well into the half and then you just play 10-15 minutes and you're done.

    As far as substitutions, I don't think there should be "unlimited" substitutions, as that would really slow the game down. However, I do think they should get to the same point that baseball is at. You may sub anyone and everyone on your bench into the game, but once someone is subbed out, they can't return.

    Really looking forward to seeing soccer make some much-needed rule changes soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unlimited Subs, but only at the water breaks mark. That wouldn't slow things down, at all. I thought I said that in the article..."And, by the way, since we're taking a break, let's allow for unlimited substitutions during this :90-second timeout. Why should it be that with an 18-man roster, fans only get to see 14 of them play. Unlimited substitutions needs to be the rule during this time, not just only one, two or three, as is the norm now."

      Delete
  2. And what happens if a player is injured (or otherwise incapacitated) at the 47 minutes mark? You play with 10 until the water break? And what happens if the coach thinks player x is awful today and would like to substitute him at the 51 minute mark? You cannot really eliminate that, so you'll have substitutions at various stops AND at the water breaks...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points. With your logic, the game can carry on with the same measures regarding substitutions, but at the water-marks, allow for additional, unlimited subs. Or, find other ways...for example, just eliminate the same measures of substitutions and only allow the unlimited, water-mark subbing.

      Delete