What if… there was an alternative penalty to the penalty?

All of the problem areas addressed in the overall text are, of course, intertwined. For example, the problem with giving a penalty is closely related to, among other things, the total number of goals. If one might again cite the example of handball: it may happen here and there that a seven-meter penalty is considered questionable or even unjustified. Only the attention – also here a connection to be found in the chapter about the generally dedicated attention to wrong decisions in soccer — will never reach any significant dimensions, at least not higher than that about a refused whistle, but also otherwise hardly worth mentioning, neither one way nor the other. The simple reason: with the multitude of goals, this one (mis)decision plays an absolutely minor role, unlike in soccer.

With soccer and the penalty decision the effect is added – this however by no means coincidentally, in comparison with handball — that in many cases a substantial revaluation of the goal chance would accompany. In handball : for example, if one is obstructed when throwing, there is a seven-meter penalty. Only, even so, if the ball could have been thrown regularly, it would have a decent chance to hit the target and lead to a goal. This reverses the experience. The goal chance might not even be upgraded. Whereby: one would not be averse to this at all. Also here the connection with the chapter about the penalty, but with the handball it would be called surely much rather: Punishment must be! Expressed in mathematical terms, perhaps like this: the throw in handball would have a 40% chance of resulting in a goal in this situation. The seven-meter would increase this to 75% (a guessed value) – here you go, very gladly, just so. Better not commit that foul play, or you’ll hurt yourself and your team. And “nice” is not a foul either way.

Because of the extremely rare occurrence of a goal, it is very difficult to give a penalty kick or even to allow the situation. In this case again the reference to the chapters about penalty kicks, which of course is already obviously given by the choice of name here. There is almost never a penalty kick. Neither for foul play nor for handball. Mainly because of the rarity of goals, so that the referee must be absolutely convinced of regularity when deciding per penalty. This applies to possible penalties, goals scored and the constantly borderline offside decisions, where the assistant’s choice is often “flag up” “just to be on the safe side”. It is better to indicate offside, because the case that it was offside and leads to a goal would have to be avoided urgently.
In the case of penalties, the awarding of such a penalty is therefore difficult a) because of the appreciation of the goal situation and b) because of the (exaggeratedly high) value of a goal. A perhaps insignificant duel beyond any danger of scoring a goal, which is nevertheless recognized as against the rules – leave the whistle mute, because for that a penalty? No, that would clearly be too much of a reward. Upgrading the scoring chance and deciding the game by this one goal are the criteria for denying the penalty kick, even if the infringement would be recognized. “This is not enough for a penalty kick.” Despite violation of the rules even.

Of course, all this is not to be disputed here. A goal changes the course of the game or already brings victory. There may be certain differences based on the current score, the minute of the game and the favorite position in a game. So: giving a penalty in the 90th minute in a league match with an absolutely even game until then and a score of 0:0 would be much harder than giving one with a score of 4:0, even no matter if for winner or loser in the game. In exactly the same way, a penalty for a clear favorite would also be somewhat easier to take. Because: the loser, if he loses the game and the penalty is even considered unjustified, would not dare to talk about having been whistled. So the referee would have much less to worry about in case of a mistake in such a situation.

Exactly the same, of course, in the case of an even game and score at a much earlier point in the game. Here, the person adversely affected by it, speaking purely intuitively, would have enough time to react to a conceivable deficit, triggered by it.

Argumentatively, one is on the level of psychology here. This is somehow quite thin ice. Especially since those affected by the analysis would simply deny: “I judge only the scene, the score doesn’t matter to me and must not matter.”
Nevertheless, the considerations do not end at this point and it would really be a good idea at any time to arrange tests to verify them or even – as the opponents of the theses would have to do – to refute them.

Nevertheless, a few scenarios are described, in which one and the same penalty situation would have to be judged by a referee. Always the same scene would be present, the other sizes variable.

Purely speculative but still conceivable that it was at a score of 4:0 – here no matter for which of the teams and also the minute of play irrelevant – the penalty kick was given to 85%. “Sure, you can give, here I give.” Mainly because intuitively and in the back of the mind is: “It’s no problem. I don’t decide the game with that.”
The same scene for a clear favorite with the score 0:0 earlier in the game. The chance would still be good that it would be imposed. It would be maybe 60%. The intuitive reasoning behind it, which may even go back to previous distribution of the game shares, “The favorite will win already has advantages. And none of the underdogs would complain. Defeat somehow calculated in.”

With an even score in a game between two equally strong teams in a previously even game, the chance of pointing to the point would perhaps already drop to 35%. Whereby here even the differentiation 0:0 or 1:1 could make a difference, because : at 1:1 both would have already scored once. One would think it possible, even as a referee, that this could be repeated, and would point to the spot, with a higher chance of perhaps 45%.
The problem here is that the referee would have the feeling that he was tipping the scales with his decision, but he would not want to be.

A last selected scenario now, in which the same scene took place : even score, 90th minute, even game, nobody would have deserved the victory, but also not the defeat. Here, the chance would perhaps drop to 20% or less that a penalty would be awarded for the same scene.

Thus, depending on the score, the minute of the game and the originally estimated distribution of chances, fluctuations between 85% and below 20% for the awarding of a penalty kick for the same scene would be conceivable.

Now such a statement can clearly only cause indignation and revolt. The referees are required to ignore all this and evaluate only the scene. Of course. Only: “they are urged” does not mean “they do it.” At the same time, no one is being pilloried here, personally certainly not, but also not by the way it was derived. It should be obvious that it is a bit harder to decide a game with a possible wrong whistle in an important moment of a game compared to doing it in a game where the winner is already decided anyway – just to keep these extremes against each other? “I’ll give a penalty. 4:0. The thing is through anyway.” “Oh, how I find out afterwards, that wasn’t one at all? Well, okay. But what’s the problem?” Reversed, last minute, 0-0, maybe a penalty, hmm. “If I whistle now and it was a mistake, then it doesn’t look good for me at all. And in addition, the ones who didn’t deserve it at all would have lost, I don’t know, I don’t know.” And already the scene is over and the chance for a whistle “wasted”.

So the assumption would be: you read it and are outraged, no question. A little later, however, one is also relieved. Because you only read what you already “knew” the whole time (the quotation marks stand for intuitive “knowledge”), only finally it is there. The emperor has new clothes after all.

The rigidity of the rules has also been discussed elsewhere and is well justified – but it also shows the error: the rules are rigid in the number one sport because one would have to fear for the status if one were to change them liberally and at will. The greatness of soccer, however, is not at all based on a consistent, coherent set of rules but on the simplicity of the game as well as its quick feasibility everywhere. Ball out, let’s go. Alone or in a completely open group size: it always works, everywhere and immediately. Rules? You could do whatever you want. Couldn’t do anything to the game itself.

All this is just to raise awareness for the question that basically arises by itself: why is there only one possible type of sanction for offenses in the penalty area? Why not simply create an alternative penalty that could be set up for so many “non-penalty” but insofar “nevertheless recognized offenses”? The penalty is indeed in many cases not the appropriate punishment. The fact that it would still be possible – since according to the rules so far in such a way intended, however at the conversion hapernd – and one could examine the consequences of it simply times – hands away from ball and opponent in the penalty area, as strict behavior measure addressed to the defenders, from coach and fellow players, there otherwise penalty – would be an also suitable attempt, however stands there perhaps still more the lack of acceptance in the way.

There are a few alternatives. You can let your imagination run wild, as long as you accept that the rules are unjustly rigid. From a multiplicity of possibilities three alternative punishments are presented here, which did not exist in this form yet – thus neither suggestions nor such punishments. Explicitly excluded, however, should be the penalty “indirect free kick”. This was and is quite a possibility, but is not to be regarded in its execution as seriously coming into question. Kuzre reasoning : the wall distance would not be observed in many actions near the goal, because the free kick is too close to the goal. Further disturbing is purely practical to observe : the defenders almost always run against too early and there is no repetition. The role of the goalkeeper is also somewhat questionable. Is he supposed to find space between his teammates on the goal line as well? Most of the time he stands in front of it – and is thus too close without being penalized.

The scenes somehow seem to promise goal danger, but very often nothing comes of it. There are all men on the goal line and the ball doesn’t go through. It’s just not nice, exciting scenes to watch and the flawless execution is a problem. Also, a lot of time passes in the process – and only hot air comes out… So: please, no inidirect free kicks in the penalty area.
And this is actually taken to heart, because it rarely happens, although the rules even provide for the penalty as an alternative. Probably the referees use their intuition here? Don’t give an indirect one, it’s not nice, it’s not fun and it only creates new problems as far as “difficult decisions” are concerned.

Now to the actually offered three alternatives:
the first would be a variant which, by the way, has already been introduced and practiced in the United States of America, which is always open to change: the penalty. A run-up from 35 meters, the shooter has 6 seconds to finish, the goalkeeper and the attacker are allowed to move freely. This variant would have the one advantage of initially offering a greater variety of possibilities for exploitation, in that it would be a more exciting situation than a penalty kick. The problem here could be the utilization percentages: if these are in a similar dimension – as is doubted here – then it would be a nice substitute for a penalty kick, also an alternative, but just unsuitable for smaller, more harmless offenses. For this one would have to ask figures first, whereby here a development would be conceivable: the shooters learn how to do it correctly and the percentages increase? Obvious should always be: who has the ball has the active possibilities of shaping. The goalkeeper could also react to it, but if an active possibility turned out to be advantageous, then the goalkeeper adaptation to it would be subordinate. In other words, the chances of converting a penalty should increase over time.

Still, a serious suggestion to consider either way as an alternative to the penalty kick.

Another would be a free kick without a wall from 16 meters. Whereby the flexibility would be in the distance. So: either, depending on the seriousness of the offense, make a range available – 16, 18, 20, 22 meters – , or pick one of those which seems appropriate. It should be a good chance – since after all there was an offense, insofar something punishable — but this should not have such a high utilization potential as the currently only available penalty kick. Experiments would be quick, the question then only what one would like to have. In the example: from 16 meters still results in 25% utilization. A high penalty. A too high penalty for what one would like to punish?
18 meters distance. Utilization potential: 14%. Appropriate, desirable? An exciting situation? How hard would you like to punish?
20 meter distance: already below 10%. Hmm, maybe too mild, appropriate, still too harsh? 22 meters: only 7%. But still, a scoring chance, an exciting scene. Maybe this appropriate?

Since all the utilization figures are only guesses: you would have to try it out and at the same time think about what would seem appropriate. A penalty is somewhere around 70% — and that is almost always too much as a penalty, just a reminder. The problem above all: it is not given at all.

The third option would be to give a short corner. Comparable to this situation in field hockey. However the players would have to line up – conceivably, as in field hockey, the defenders would have to go back to the goal line and would only be allowed to start skating at the moment of the clearance – in principle it doesn’t sound so bad, does it? The attacking party is closer to the goal and has more options than with a normal corner kick. It would be a new variant, and it would be interesting to see how the attackers would try to take advantage of it. The defenders would be left with the passive role, as with the penalty. But, of course, the defenders would be allowed to learn and adapt to certain attacking moves that prove to be effective.

Conclusion: an alternative penalty to the penalty should be created. Penalties are provided for, but they are given far too seldom. This alternative would also relieve the referee considerably. He is constantly called upon to decide whether to award a penalty or not. And thus, so to speak, about victory or defeat. This is an excessive demand, which can be avoided with an “undecided” (no penalty). With the help of the evasive penalty, many exciting scenes would arise and the referee would always have one ready as an “excuse”. Was not a penalty kick, but just a xxx…

There are a total of three conceivable proposals, all of which could be implemented immediately without any further changes to the game. What could cause this to fail?