What if… a violation of the rules would result in a penalty?
The “problem area” addressed here is not one at all. At least not one that would ever have attracted attention. Nevertheless, there is something to be said about it.
To do so, one probably has to go a little further. And that is about as far as the game of soccer is old, or even further, to the point where mankind started to think about “education”.
In principle there are rules for the contact of humans with one another, which are not noted however usually at all and do not even have to be noted. This one makes in such a way, that somewhat differently, that one omits better. At this point it would be important to note that violations of these unwritten rules do not entail any punishment, except perhaps that of being looked at askance or having one’s head shaken.
For grosser offences, which crept in in the course of the human history (already early, as one hears, with Cain and Abel) there were the so-called laws, which put a transgression of the same under punishment. “Now you really must not do that.” “And if I do?” “It says in the law book what we do then. But in any case, you will be punished.” Minor offenses milder, more serious offenses harsher.
Obviously, the purpose of these punishments – some of which were later adapted, adjusted — was to exclude such a violation of the rules, if possible, for now and for all the future. That is forbidden because one does not do that and because no one would like to see that and because one causes damage with it and because one would like to draw presumably a self-interest from it, at expense of others. So there is a rule violation and usually a profiteer – the perpetrator – and an injured party – the victim. Whereby this makes no claim to absoluteness. It only leads approximately to the right thought and the simplification serves to make something clear.
This principle also applies in principle in education. However, it is usually the case that an adult has to educate one or more minors and wants to teach them the rules for life out there and their future as well as possible. The minors are usually not only in this role for the purpose of learning how to deal with each other, but, as this alternatively used word suggests, they are to be protected by the adult at the same time.
Be that as it may: the educational measures are by no means determined by law. One can declare, pronounce a desired behavior for good intercourse, simply call it a rule, and one can expect compliance or violation of it. Insofar as it would be violated, one would have to come up with a measure so that a repetition would be avoided if possible. Here, too, there is probably a penalty catalog, because one makes the observation that merely naming or explaining the rule is not enough. In some cases, the children and young people also want to know how serious it is and test the limits.
However, it is about established rules and their desired compliance. Both in the law and in education. The positive set of rules does not have to be noted in the process. “You could talk to each other or play, race each other or go on the climbing frame there, you could play in the bottle box or use the slide, you could play one-on-one or build a sand castle. You can also use the bench and the swing. You may also play with the ball.” No, usually only what is forbidden is mentioned – the rest is open and left to common sense.
Now with games, rules are also set up. Whereby there would be two differences here: firstly, there is a game goal, which usually amounts to a winner determination, secondly, there is the positive sentence of the rules, how one may reach the game goal.
The determination of the winner is a critical point: of course you want to have a good time, you want to have fun, you want to train skills at the same time, which can be in all areas, but you also prefer not to be the loser. In this respect, games are prone to rule violations, which, comparable to “real life”, give one side an advantage, but at the same time harm another side.
Now one notes rules, the positive sentence, as well as the play goal and how it would be to be reached. If a game is repeated many times, certain rule violations will probably be repeated as well. There is then a sanction catalog for this. The intention here would be the same as in the other examples mentioned: Rule violations should be avoided if possible, and ideally should not occur at all. The game goal should be attainable with the given positive rules and also be reached and not be somehow obtained otherwise. Idea of sanctions: there are no rule violations. This would considerably curb or even completely destroy the fun of the game. You are playing a game of chess, about to make a mate move, and your opponent knocks the board over, claiming that he was just bumping against it. To leave it at the one example: nobody knows anymore how the score stands and the game cannot be rated. The opponent would have been grossly unsportsmanlike and would perhaps be excluded from the competition or one would avoid playing with him in the future – or one would have a good repertoire of punishments to exclude this behavior.
Anyway: you can now transfer all this very easily to soccer and not at all unlikely that you always had this somewhere in the back of your mind during the explanations made up to this point. Whereby one would have to feel possibly a little bit caught, because one had assumed nevertheless until today from the assumption that foul play belonged to the soccer? “Everybody does it, so what’s the problem?” Well, as I said, the problem didn’t exist until now. But now it has suddenly come up.
You can start with a very simple example, related to soccer. What do you think of an emergency brake? Who benefits from it, who does it harm? Do emergency brakes exist at all, are they desirable or undesirable? Is there a reasonable penalty?
You can look back a little but the frequency of emergency braking has not decreased. If something would have decreased, then this would be only the clumsiness to commit one. In other words: the defenders have become smarter about emergency braking and try to “camouflage” it as well as possible. However this works now: the accumulation has increased, first of punished and still much more of the generously let through, despite recognizable intention. If one compared first with the emergence in the Bundesliga in the 60s, 70s, then perhaps a ratio of 10:1 would come out, how often it happens today in relation to then. You simply didn’t do it because it wasn’t proper, because it was scorned, because you were booed and still took this to heart, because you got a stamp of the bully imprinted on you, and today this would be comparable to an “aggressive leader” in terms of appearance, but not at all in terms of perception. At that time: fie. Today: wow. He clears everything that gets in his way, great, the man.
Even if this statistic were in doubt: would one like to see – and to ask this question in a timeless way, so to speak – emergency brakes or would a nice goal action and a hit or a save be the nicer prospect? Wouldn’t everyone turn up their nose if they saw one, even if it was the defender of their own team?
There is still the question of whether it makes sense to do so. This was answered quite clearly by FIFA. When Alpay did NOT take his opponent Vlaovic off his legs to prevent a goal against him in the last minute of the game Turkey vs. Croatia at the European Championship 1996, he was directly awarded the Fair Play Award for it. Because it was obviously recognized: he would have done his team a huge service if he had knocked the opponent down, just behind the halfway line. Red card, ok, thank you, referee, gladly, of course, I’m already down. The main thing is not to concede a goal, 0-0 saved, maybe my come on. After the final whistle, he probably would have taken a lap of honor on the shoulders of his teammates to celebrate him properly – so he only got the lentil dish of a fair play award. Somehow, surely, it should be seen as FIFA’s own goal? The man was fair enough to play by the rules. He gets the prize. Because presumably no one else in the tournament followed the rules?
Foul play is forbidden according to the rules. Emergency braking is the worst form of foul play. It fulfills three vile criteria: a) intent, b) the risk of injury, which would have to be taken into account in the case of intentional foul play and which is, as the saying goes, accepted here, and c) last but by no means least, the thwarting of a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Villainy to the power of three, may one say so? If you are not so base, you are honored. Because otherwise everyone else would be.
The basic problem could be summarized once again as follows: Soccer is a duel sport and neither absorbent cotton blowing nor basketball. Good. That’s how it should stay, that’s what the spectators want to see. It can also come to a foul play, that can not be excluded in this way. Both go to the ball, one is faster, bad luck, the opponent hits his foot and not the ball. Foul. It happened. But now comes the important consideration: it must not become an advantage for the foul player. The foul play, which may be called “unintentional”, should have consequences for the perpetrator, so that the next time he realizes that it is not enough and does not hit the foot of the opponent – please keep in mind the risk of injury. The foul play should be demotivated by the available sanction.
For this there would be the following possibilities to provide for it. One would be to count the fouls, as is the case in basketball. The subdivision in team fouls and individual fouls likewise analogously.
Problem thereby, as with all suggested measures: Amateur and professional soccer should not diverge, please. Would a single referee in an amateur game be overwhelmed by this? Probably yes. Conceivable nevertheless: Fouls are undesirable, demotivated by this measure, thus more rarely to be found, thus the task would be perhaps nevertheless a manageable one? A tally sheet, the back number to it or however. One could make generally available, so that it could be simplified. In the professional area it should not be a problem anyway. Sufficiently many rule supervisors present.
As advanced sanctions could be imagined: when a number of team fouls is reached, there is a penalty (or an alternative penalty proposed elsewhere). Keeping the goal in mind: the rules were originally written to encourage compliance, not transgressions. So even if it sounds “harsh”: maybe it will ensure a “by the book” two-cap penalty? Of course, if there are more infractions, the number of foul plays until the next penalty kick is taken is significantly reduced.
Individually, one would simply send the player off. Whereby here probably a substitution should come before. However, this would by no means be a disadvantage for the opponent: perhaps three opponents will soon be facing the critical limit, or three have already been replaced, and as a result you will be playing in over-number from the 80th minute?
An alternative would be to punish the severity of the offense with staggered free kicks. Intentional foul play: free kick from a certain point in opponent’s half, 40 meters, outside position for example, no matter where the offense was. Foul on a crosser in a promising position: free kick in a central position, 24 meters goal distance.
A final example would be: Emergency brake – always penalty. What is the problem with a double penalty? The emergency brake should be omitted. So expect, if you do it, that it won’t end well at all, for you and your team.
These are only suggestions, which can be varied as desired. One could make a certain staggering, this is the basic idea. Important in the version: the free kick position does not depend on the location of the offense but on its severity.
This could also be implemented. On the other hand, this would have to settle in first and one would have to gain a little experience, what would be punished how and where.
Conclusion: there are a few sensible and feasible solutions to demotivate rule violations. The only “to be feared” consequence: less fouls, more flow of the game, more scoring scenes, more scoring chances, more goals, more exciting progressions. To whose detriment could that be?