World football is still too conservative
Following on from Jesse Fink’s article published on The Roar yesterday, and the many comments that it engendered, I thought I would touch on a favourite theme of mine: world football and conservatism.
There are two main reasons why progressive changes, while occasionally considered, are rarely put into effect by FIFA (putting aside the general ineptitude to be found amongst some on the Executive):
1. Too many varied and vested interests make unanimous decision making nigh on impossible
2. There is a genuine and valid effort made by FIFA to ensure that the game can be played in an identical manner throughout the world at all levels, from the impoverished village in central Africa all the way to the most prosperous cities on Earth.
This pattern is ingrained to such an extent that despite the modern age we find ourselves in, we witness some quaint and quirky artifacts of world football:
1. One central referee deciding almost everything related to the game, from enforcing rules, to determining the length of the game, to meting out punishment on the spot for more serious infringements, all with the use of one little whistle
2. Two linesmen assisting with little flags
3. A fourth official who doesn’t even have the power to allow someone onto the field as soon as they are ready to run on (compare this anomaly with the 200 interchanges that occur in every AFL game).
Now let me say, the aim of keeping everything the same all around the world has its benefits, and is a noble objective.
But in the modern age, it all starts to look a little dated on the biggest stage of them all. And in some respects, it becomes a case of the lowest common denominator – no matter what level of the game we are watching, we will use the simplest, easiest and cheapest methods of all.
I’d like to think that modernity must eventually catch up with FIFA, and that it will make serious efforts to at least bring the highest levels of the game into the 21st century.
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