What if… you only had possession when you played the ball?
The question goes back to a certain game situation, which occurs often enough to make it an annoyance and thus to question it: regular or are there alternatives?
If you ask the question as naively as it is formulated above, then you could only expect this answer: “Huh? When else are you supposed to be in possession of the ball? What is all this nonsense about?” That’s exactly how it is or would be, that’s right.
Nevertheless, the respondent would be convicted in a certain way with this answer, namely if the scene is described to him as it happened and as it is applied and interpreted over and over again.
The scene goes something like this: a long pass comes forward. A striker and a defender chase the ball. The running duel and the way in which it takes place today is discussed elsewhere, but even such a duel could annoy and drive away a “neutral” observer sufficiently. Well, the two “run” to the ball (“rowing” would be a better term), the defender eventually manages, thanks to sufficient unfairness – of course never enough for a whistle – or thanks to physical robustness, to get his body between the ball and the opponent . From this point on, he feels like a “ball leading player”. But here’s the problem: he doesn’t lead the ball at all and doesn’t even have the intention to do so. The actual intent is to allow the ball to go wide so his team gets a goal kick or throw-in (in rarer cases where the ball was played more towards the touchline/corner flag).
First of all, the view represented here: this is much more like “blocking without the ball”. There are only two possibilities: either the defender would have played the ball, then he would be in possession of it – acknowledged – but if it went out, a corner kick would result. However, if he does not play the ball and still lets it go wide, then the attacking party would have a corner kick (or, in the exceptional cases mentioned, “only” a throw-in). So: decide, defender, foul — free kick or corner kick?
If this idea were followed, the art of defense would then be to “walk” the ball and then keep it in play – which in many cases that one observes is quite conceivable. You got your body in between, well, you even assume by legal means, now you have to play it or allow the corner kick/free kick/throw-in. If you play it – for which, as I said, the space and skills are often enough, there is still a small risk that it will be played uncontrolled, towards the opponent, inaccurately or just out of bounds. The attacking action continued. Only to the detriment of the game, the fun, the entertainment, the justice.
The scene, which occurs very frequently nowadays, becomes even more of a nuisance in the following seconds, apart from the unpleasant running duel described, namely under these circumstances and/or in this way: in the example, the ball does not have such a high speed that he went wide or fast. The defender intervenes with his body – usually already with semi-legal means –, but then he realizes that the ball absolutely does not want to roll out of bounds and from his point of view there is still an agonizingly long time before it is ready. Now a completely absurd duel begins. As is well known, the defender does not want to play the ball. He still has to shield it with his body. Attackers and strikers often differ physiologically: strikers are small and agile, defenders have slow motor skills, are large, powerful and much less agile. The defender sticks out his buttocks, spreads his arms backwards, now rows in a completely different way, denies the agile attacking player access to the ball in every way. And please consider: without having played the ball and without the intention to have to do this, which he makes clear with his behavior.
The smaller, agile defender seeks an alternate approach to the ball, squirming around the outside, under the arms, whatever. In fact, he gets the ball – not so rarely – and if he keeps it in play, he sniffs it away. The defender, who, according to the view represented here, would not be in possession of the ball at all, but only has in mind measures to prevent football, yes, rather to kill football, now finally recognizes the signs of the times – the ball would be gone, the striker could even go in the direction of the goal , although then coming very far from the outside, but still. Now the defender falls as a last resort. The decision, and that really not in 99 out of 100 cases but in 100 out of 100: Free kick for the defending team.
The strikers are then described as “very temperamental” because they jump up like Rumpelstiltskin and just can’t understand why EVERYTHING about this situation, from start to finish, is being used against them. This problem, which fundamentally affects strikers, is also discussed in more detail elsewhere. But here’s another example of why strikers are having a hard time these days. And the most difficult thing remains: don’t freak out but somehow keep your nerves in check. And that would have absolutely nothing to do with temperament, but merely something with a sense of justice that was given to everyone, implanted and originally probably reliable, but here and elsewhere badly trampled on and thus injured. This would also answer a little more precisely why no impartial viewer can stand it.
The simple conclusion would be: Ball possession only if you actually play the ball or intend to play it. If he went out untouched: Free kick because he was blocked without the ball, recognized as such afterwards. If he goes out through a contact, which would then logically come from the defender no longer blocking but carrying the ball, of course not a free kick but a corner kick or throw-in.
What could be the problem here? It’s fair, no annoyances, no ambiguity, no ugly scenes, no acting — at least in this situation — and a decent number of more attractive goalscoring scenes. So what’s the catch?