If I Was President

…Or how I would improve football in three easy steps – the first three that come into my head that are easy to justify…

Well. I know you all love Shola. Hell, I do. I think. I’m never really sure.

But this is not about Shola. Well, the intention is that it won’t be about Shola, but I am typing quicker than I think while on my lunch break, so I can’t guarantee anything.

Hell, I can’t even be sure this will be safe to read at work, so do so at your own responsibility.

As the new season is almost upon us (well, Premier League season. The German leagues and other English ones are already underway), I decided to come up with three ways we could improve football.

You may agree with them, or you may not. I’m interested in hearing your ideas. But that doesn’t mean I’ll agree with them.

But, before I start, here is a picture of Shola.

Ameobi 1.0 laughing like a fat lad in a toffee factory at the idea of playing for Stoke.

He hates Stoke. He only went there as watching them play gave him migraines, so he tried to teach them the beautiful game. But he never scored for them. Because he hates everything they represent.

In fact, he probably only went there to get another hat for his collection.

He loves hats.

Anyway, three things I would change to improve the game.

1. Make the player nearest the ball when it goes out take the resulting throw-in.
Someone tweeted that one ex-Premier League referee (I forgot which, but it wasn’t Uriah Rennie. Or that tosspot Jeff Winter), when asked how he would improve football, suggested this ahead of any other measure. And, the more you think about it, the more it makes sense, actually. The ball is in play perhaps an hour, at most, in each match. By speeding the game up, the fans get more action for their money. Plus, it would harm Stoke and their urchin of a manager, unless they just stuck Rory Delap, who’s not the most mobile of players, on some kind of moped so he could follow the ball around.

2. Retrospective action for those who dive
Assemble a panel to judge this, made up of ex-players, to look at issues from the weekend’s games, with one match bans for a first offence, two for a second, and so on. I mean, look at this:

Stuff like this happens too much. And I’m not gonna blame Johnny Foreigner as England’s favourites (Cole (pick one), Lampard and ‘Stevie G’ all do this, as well as many others). It’s cheating. If the ref sees it, it should be an automatic yellow card. If he doesn’t, then they should be banned using retrospective powers. Diving will never be completely eradicated, but it should be dramatically reduced.

3. Tougher laws for dissent
Referees never change their mind during a game, even if they are wrong. But still, teams like Chelsea and Man United still hound the referee after any contentious decision. Simple solution: only the captains can talk to the referee. In theory, this happens now, but not very well. If anyone but the captain talks to the referee about anything other than the weather, the time remaining in the game or a dubious Youtube video they have found, they should get a yellow card. Any swearing should be a red card. Any touching the referee should be a red card. Even this:

Cheeky fella.

The respect campaign was a great idea, but it has about as much power as a deflated medicine ball. Give it some teeth. The respect campaign that is, not a medicine ball. That would just be weird.

Obviously, there are lots of ways to improve the game, so I would be interested to hear what you would like to change?

About Neil

28 years old. Geordie. Lived in Berlin almost three years. All-round canny lad.
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