By Andrew Warshaw
January 19 – Not to be outdone by the innovations of his boss Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s new technical director Marco van Basten has come up with arguably the most ground-breaking blueprint ever for the future of football including scrapping offside and introducing sin-bins in place of yellow cards.
The former world player of the year, who scored that volley in the Euro ‘88 final as the Netherlands won their first and only senior international trophy, was hired by FIFA last September to examine all aspects of the game.
And now he has come up with a 10-point plan highlighted by getting rid of the offside rule.
“We must keep looking for ways to improve the game,” Van Basten said in an interview with the German magazine Sport Bild.
“To make it more honest, more dynamic, more interesting, so that what we offer is attractive enough. There are lots of variations which need to be tested in the coming years.”
Van Basten says abolishing the offside rule would mean an end to games which “resemble handball where nine players, plus the goalkeeper, pack the penalty area and [the defence] is like a wall. I’m curious to see how football would work without offside.”
He argues sin-binning players for 10 minutes would prove a greater deterrent than cautions. “It would frighten teams,” he said. “It is hard to play 10 against 11, let alone eight or nine.”
Van Basten would also like to replace extra time and penalty shootouts with a version of the old MLS-style run-up from 25 metres in which players, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, have to get a shot away within a limited period of time. Explaining how the system would work, he said: “Each team would have five attempts with eight seconds to score and the goalkeeper must not leave the penalty area.”
Any experiments would have to be approved by the game’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which next meets on March 3-4 in London but which is unlikely to rubber-stamp such radical ideas until they have been thoroughly explored.
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