The International FA Board are set to consider various new proposals to combat time-wasting in football, as stats show it’s reaching new levels in the English game.
The Times highlight that the ball has spent an average of a minute less time in play this season than in 2017/18. The percentage of games with substitutions after the 90th minute has also risen from 21.3% in 2011/12 to 24.3% since 2017/18.
One solution being put forward, as a result, is that substitutions would no longer be allowed after the 90 minutes are up. Whilst this would prevent the obvious time-wasting changes made by teams holding onto a lead/draw, it would also potentially hurt sides who suffer a genuine injury in additional time.
Another potential addition to the rules is for players to have to leave the pitch at whichever touchline is closest, rather than running (or slowly walking) to the technical area before they can come off. It’s a bit bizarre that this one isn’t already a rule.
Ifab are also considering scrapping the rules preventing defenders receiving the ball from a goal kick inside their own area, and free kicks being taken with a moving ball. Both regulations are commonly exploited by teams wishing to waste time, by pretending they didn’t realise the ball was moving or ‘accidentally’ standing in the box.
I’d like to put forward something else English football could bring in today without any trouble: The multi-ball system.
In the Premier League, the ball boys and girls retrieve the same ball that was kicked out of play, often wasting a lot of time running over to it and throwing it back, or getting it from the crowd.
In UEFA competitions, they just throw the players a new ball and collect the old one in their own time. I’m yet to hear a single good reason why England’s domestic competitions haven’t brought this system in.