One of the overall key messages remains this one: Football today has become a pure fan sport. For neutral spectators, for pure followers of the game of football, so to speak, it no longer offers enough exciting, beautiful moments, thrilling scenes, great actions or gripping game progressions with, for example, changing leads. The main reason for this is quite clear: There are too few goal scenes, too few goals. Goal scenes promise excitement, right, but also only if they are crowned with success to a sufficient degree. This should be obvious.
Any referee whistle that robs the tension should actually be undesirable. The referees would have to be programmed, attuned, to the fact that it is always exciting for all spectators except the (then fewer) fans of the team concerned when the ball is in the penalty area, when the attacker appears alone in front of the goalkeeper, when the goalkeeper drops the ball even when he is in distress, when the striker wins a header duel, even if he tugs or struggles as much as his opponent, when a free kick near the penalty area is not stopped as a goal action by an advancing wall, when a penalty is awarded even for minor fouls – keyword: What is a “foul not worthy of a penalty”, one where the foul is recognised but not whistled? — and so on. Unfortunately, the practice is that the referees see the attacker’s wrong action in every situation, even the smallest one, and blow the whistle again and again if there is the slightest doubt about the correctness of the attacker’s behaviour, while they very often turn a blind eye to far more than one defensive action.
According to the opinion expressed here, a change in thinking would be enough to breathe life back into the game, which it had, for example, at the 54 World Cup with a goal average of over 5 goals per game. Tension, drama, goals. And not: after a 1:0 you know 70% of the winner, after a 2:0 95%. With a higher number of goals, the fear of deciding a game by a single wrong whistle, a wrongly recognised goal, would also be considerably less.
The rethinking here is only juxtaposed with possible rule changes – which are in abundance at FIFA and are being examined, in the knowledge that the statement is true that football is threatened with the death of boredom. So if the officials could be made to understand this change in thinking for the goal action, for the attackers, inculcate, convey, I guarantee football would have won.
As proof that the problem was recognised early(er) and that the FIFA officials would have to agree with this fundamental concern, the fact that the three-point rule was introduced, which is to be the subject here, serves as proof. The only justification for it, definitely supported here, was:
Football lacks attractiveness.
How could this be increased? At the time, this one was chosen from many proposals – many of which are still being discussed today. The idea of the inventors of the rules was that if, when the score was even, you were promised a reward for taking risks in order to gain the bonus of an extra point, you would see much more often exposed defences in the closing minutes, much more often the drama, the exciting goal scenes, the goals in the closing minutes that the game lacked.
The stocktaking, which will be limited here to the German Bundesliga for the time being: The rule was introduced for the 1995/96 season. Since then, the goal average has not increased noticeably. This development is shown here in diagram form:
A brief interpretation of the diagram: the goal average in reality (blue line) has been zigzagging back and forth quite agitatedly over the last 16 years. The computer programme used here (already “in service” since 1990, developed by the authors) has, as you can see, always tried to do justice to this development with its reaction. Whenever the average in a season has risen (noticeably), the purple line gradually follows suit. However, each time, only to realise that it had actually done it wrongly. Because then it fell again. Basically, then, the computer reacts “reasonably”, as you can see quite well. No systematic change has occurred that would justify expecting a higher or lower cut. Nor has the introduction of the three-point rule changed anything significant. Nevertheless, it seems that one should rather expect a further decrease in the future. The reason(s) for this can be found above. The referees are whistling more and more against the strikers. They also realise that nothing happens to them when they do it that way. So at some point it is “state of the art”. That’s how you whistle.
Here is the diagram of the draws, which is actually irrelevant:
Even if the (partial) goal of reducing the number of draws has been achieved, it is not clear that the drama in the games has increased. This would have something to do with suddenly changing scores, and these surprising changes can only occur through more goals. Nevertheless, the interpretation of the lines is easy: the coaches and players are learning a little bit after all. And although the goal average has dropped rather minimally, the improved tactics ensure that the draws drop so that one team or the other can enjoy the three points more often.
All of this is mentioned here mainly because it proves that those in charge are wringing their hands in search of the slightest possible modifications that could make the game and sport of football more attractive again. The three-point rule has not done the trick.
On the other hand, one should of course concede that it is possible that an even worse development could have been prevented. So the three-point rule has prevented what would otherwise have been a drastic drop in goal average. As much as this may be admitted with pleasure, if this development had been prevented, then from this side it may be permissible to ask why it would have occurred in the first place? The answer is clear and already explained above.
The simplest way to increase the attractiveness of the game, i.e. the number of scoring scenes and goals, is to change the way of thinking in combination with the application of the existing rules.