A Step Too Far? Proposed Rule Changes Not So Well Received

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Many of the sports major names are voicing their opposition on the heels of some radical rule changes recently proposed by FIFA technical director and Dutch football legend Marco van Basten. Among the voices expressing displeasure at the path taken by van Basten are Arsenal manager Arsene Wegner and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, both of whom say they believe the proposals are too extreme and may irrevocably alter the game.

Among the proposed rules changes is adding an orange card sending a player off for 10 minutes, replacing the penalty kick with an eight-second shootout — first adopted by the original NASL in the 1970s — and scrapping the offside rule altogether, the latter of which appears to be drawing the most debate. “The one I don’t find interesting is to suppress offside,” Wegner said in a report posted on ESPNFC.com. “Offside is what makes the team good together. It is an intelligent rule as well; it is important to keep that in the game.”

Klopp was much less diplomatic than his fellow Barclay’s Premiere League manager. In a report also posted on ESPNFC.com, Klopp says the game doesn’t need to be changed for the sake of changing and basically said van Basten can pound sand. “I don’t know exactly what Marco van Basten is doing,” Klopp says. “Was it a real idea or was it something he thought about or whatever? He can invent another game, so that’s no problem. We have enough pitches around the world, so play something else somewhere else. But I think this game that we all love doesn’t need this kind of rule changes.”

Speaking to the European sports website sportsbild.com, van Basten defended his ideas, saying he believes the future of football is at stake. “We must keep looking for ways to improve the game,” Van Basten said. “To make it more honest, more dynamic, more interesting, so that what we offer is attractive enough.” Van Basten is also proposing limiting the team captain as the only player allowed to talk to the referee and limiting the number of games each year.

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