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Rule changes you'd like to see

One of the things I find a bit distasteful in modern football is the number of times players go down with a head injury, and force the referee to stop the game on grounds of player welfare. I'm not pointing fingers at particular clubs - Charlton did it several times yesterday, we're just as bad. It's cynical, and trivialises the issue of head trauma, which football does not do well with.

So what I'd like to see is this: any player who goes down indicating a head injury must immediately be removed to undergo a HIA (head injuy assesment) with an independent doctor. If they pass, they can return to play. If they fail, they can be replaced by a concussion sub.

If the player goes off as a result of a foul, then the fouling team must also lose a player whilst the HIA is being carried out. They can return to play when the player who has gone off does, or when a substitution is made. If the player goes down holding their head and the referee doesn't think there was foul play, they must stay off until they've passed a HIA.

Anyone else go rule changes they think would improve the game?



  • At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, they already do exactly this in Rugby Union. Football should do the same.

  • That isn't true

  • I’ve banged on about this one before. Whistle goes for a free kick. No opposition player is allowed to touch the ball until play resumes. The whole kick away, throw to your mate, roll it in the direction of another player, etc does my head in. Instant yellow.

    And yes the head injury thing is out of control. Players don’t seem to know where their heads are anymore.

  • Only captains allowed to approach the referee. Automatic yellow for anyone else. Would stop teams mobbing refs soon enough.

  • edited March 2023

    I don't trust football to get it right on head injuries whatsoever. I still think back to the Matt Bloomfield incident v Lincoln in 2019 where the ref just completely froze.

  • Up until 1912 goalkeepers could make a ‘fair catch’ anywhere in their own half (bit like ‘the mark’ @bargepole). Reintroduce that and Max could dominate up to half way as well as shortening the distance for his problem distribution.

  • 1/ Keeper to release the ball after 6 seconds (they used to have to do this. )

    2/ clock stops when ball out of play for corner and goal kicks.

    3/ nearest player has to take throw ins.

    4/ Ball has to travel minimum of 10 yards when taking a corner (stops the time wasting near the end of a game by a winning team )

  • The most obvious rule change needed, and one which would eliminate all time wasting, is to use a 'playing time' clock similar to the system used in other team sports.

    So the fourth official would be the timekeeper, and the referee would signal to him to stop the clock every time there is an injury, a goal kick, a corner, a throw in, a penalty, or a VAR referral. He then signals to restart the clock when the ball is back in play.

    That way, you could have two 30 minute halves of actual football, and everyone knows when time is up.

    FIFA were considering this for the 2022 World Cup, and it's still on the table, I believe: FIFA considering playing time rule change ahead of 2022 World Cup - Football Italia (

  • edited March 2023

    Definitely this one, and definitely stopping players stealing 10 yards on every throw in.

    I'd make it a yellow card offence if you try and use a towel or similar on the ball too. We played someone a couple of months ago who were at it.

    It was utterly farcical how the ref just stood there allowing them to waste another 30seconds every single throw.

    The player pointing to the towel and ball boy as if oh that's ok then mate, crack on.

  • edited March 2023

    These aren't at all workable though.

    So a player gets a "head" injury. It's not a foul. So does the player have to leave the pitch while this in depth assessment is carried out while the game continues? Leaving them down to 10 men for something that may not be their fault?

    Or do we stop play for what could be ages while the assessment is made?

    It could be quite a pressurised call from this "assessor" with management team and players on their back, and might enter legal grounds.

  • 1. You are not allowed to bring on a substitute goalkeeper if yours is sent off

    2. If a game goes to a penalty shoot out it is sudden death from the start, and you are allowed to choose your opponent's penalty takers

    3. If you kiss the badge on your shirt you are never allowed to play for another football team

    4. FA Cup draws - do not publish teams' numbers beforehand and definitely do not have them listed at the side of the screen. Ideally the draw should be broadcast on the radio only on a Monday lunchtime

    5. Don't celebrate a goal against a former club? 3 match ban

    6. Squad numbers? Get in the bin. Starting line-up 1 to 11

    7. Get rid of VAR

    8. Handball law to revert to having to be deliberate

    9. Offside to be flagged when the ball is played, not ten minutes later

    10. Admit the catastrophic error in allowing MK Dons to exist, and disband them unilaterally

    11. No drums, no bands, no trumpets. Shirts to be worn at all times

  • Shirts vs skins, swapping at half time

  • Life bans for children with 'Can I have your shirt?' signs. It's got to be stamped out.

  • edited March 2023

    I get the argument, but it's completely unnecessary - time-wasting just needs to be clamped down on properly / the proper amount of time added on, as we saw at the World Cup. Going from 90 minutes down to 60 would completely fuck up the game from a statistical/historical record point of view.

  • edited March 2023

    Speaking of rule changes, I see goalkeepers have had their job at penalties made even harder now. The only part of the new laws I agree with is that they can't shake the goalframe. The rest is ridiculously harsh - I'm not saying penalties should favour the goalkeeper or even be 50/50 in that respect, but 'keepers are already at too big a disadvantage from them imo.

  • The problem with the 60 minute clock is a team could still chop up a game by taking ages over throw ins, etc. Though the clock would not start, and no time would be lost, it would still have an effect on momentum - only players could not get carded because there would be no such official thing as timewasting! I think it is better to simply implement many of the rules above that would make the 90 minute game flow more.

    I have not seen this mentioned yet, but why has extra time EVER been anything other than a golden goal? We have spent sometimes over 180 minutes trying to separate two teams, finally get that separation when one scores, and then give the other team a chance to put it back to square one! It is dumfounding in the extreme. I'm sorry, conceding team - you had plenty of time to win the tie.

  • Away teams have to seek permission from the match referee if they wish to wear anything but their first choice kit.

    referree can only grant permission if there is a definite colour clash

  • Golden goal would just encourage even more defensive approaches to extra time, and I think it's as unfair as NFL overtime.

  • jumpers for goalpost

    first goal after mum calls you home for tea wins

  • edited March 2023

    Sure - if teams want to be negative that is their decision. But loads of extra times go to penalties anyway with the current setup. My point is that IF a goal is scored, that should be it. It makes no sense to give the conceding team a chance to take it back to a stalemate.

    The NFL is extremely different, as possession is yours until you score, turn it over, or punt, so if the first team to possess the ball in overtime scores and wins, the second team was truly deprived of an equal playing field. In football, it is much more free flowing, with both teams having plenty of chances to possess the ball and do something with it. The nature of possession in the two sports could not be more different.

  • Team that owns the ball decides when the game is over

  • Players no closer than 10 yards when the keeper attempts to distribute the ball. A player trying to hold this up in any way (walking away incredibly slowly or trying to block like strikers always do now) and it’s viewed as a yellow card for time wasting

  • This is not actually on the pitch, but I would like all pundits to be seated over a pool of sludge and slime, and they are dropped into it when a cliche lever is activated. Some examples:

    "Wanted it more"

    "Unnatural position"

    "He had to go"

    "Did just enough to put him off"

    "Working his socks off"

    "There are no easy games at this level"

    "Good touch for a big man"

    "This game needs a goal"

  • Inflatable Milk bottle in the centre circle for the Milk (League) Cup

  • Not quite the direct comparison I made it out to be, but I think there should always be the opportunity to respond. Silver goal was kind of an attempt to rectify that, and then they just realised normal extra time was fine as it was. I do like the idea of teams having to remove a player every couple of minutes, though, until you're down to GK v GK...

  • When I was little, I thought you got sent off for kicking the ball out for a throw, and now is quite like to see how that would work in practice.

  • It's continually depressing for me, the 'work' employees at UEFA and FIFA do every day.

    Association football is the greatest creation of humanity. I would suggest we should stop FIFA/UEFA/ taking the piss out of us.

  • I'd like to see anyone who hasn't played football eliminated from the process

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