Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Football Could Learn from Futsal

I've been watching some of the FIFA World Futsal Cup from Thailand and I am finding it oddly pleasing on the eye.

The most notable feature for me is the complete lack of time-wasting incidents in the game. After the ball goes out it is quickly put back into play. I have yet to see a single player feigning injury. Substitutions take place quickly and efficiently, whether teams are winning or losing.

No doubt the main reason for these pleasing features is that the clock stops when the ball goes out of play. There is therefore nothing to be gained by wasting time, whether you are winning or losing,

I find it interesting that international futsal players are capable of getting up immediately after falling on a hard floor, whereas so many international footballers writhe around in apparent agony at the slightest of falls on a watered grass field.

FIFA recently disbanded a committee charged with looking at ways of improving the game ('led' by Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer, although Pelé apparently never attended even a single meeting) because all it could come up with was the idea of handshakes at the end of the match. Any amateur footballer will tell you they already do this at the completion of their games.

This committee could have done worse than suggesting a trial of stopping the clock when the ball is out of play, with a reduction in playing time of say thirty minutes per half. I'm not saying this should be introduced, but anything that rids of the game of the twin evils of time-wasting and feigning injuries has to be worthy of consideration.

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