Euro 2016 kicks off later tonight amidst excitement and frenzy in the best year for football fans. Fans who are following Copa America 2016, after a tiring club season and yet awaiting the extravaganza at Paris.
Euro 2016 also brings about a fresh set of rules, going to be tested and judged during the month-long event. Are the new rules here to stay? Will they impact football forever? Here’s a look at the rules and its impact to the game.
1. No more “triple punishments” — Till date if a player is fouled by opposition defenders and denied a goal scoring opportunity, then the team receives triple blow – a red card, a penalty and subsequent suspension! With new rules, any genuine attempt to play the ball by “last line of defence” (defenders or goalies), which bring down opponents, will no longer result in automatic red card, penalty and player suspension. Yellow cards with no suspensions will be used instead unless the foul was particularly brutal or there was a handball.
VERDICT: This modification on the outset promotes attacking football. It means a team can afford to leave minimal defenders behind and attack rest of the game. In case of a counter attack, they can still stop without getting red carded. Thumbs Up.
2. More water breaks — Perhaps anticipating the temperatures of the upcoming Qatar World Cup, new rules permit the players a brief time-out to drink some water in particularly hot playing conditions.
VERDICT: This rule is good as long as it’s not used by players to time waste and protect score lines. Interestingly, it’s to be used in hot playing conditions – which make it very subjective. A Scandinavian player may feel hot at 25 degree Celsius, while for a Moroccan that would be ideal playing temperature. This rule may be misused more than anticipated.
3. No more fake penalty kicks — A favourite tactic of Neymar Messi and co – send goalkeeper diving the wrong way with a pretend “pre-kick” is no longer allowed. Penalty takers must now follow through with their penalty kicks in one movement. This rule robs of memorable instances where Luis Suarez scored off a Lionel Messi penalty kick pass.
VERDICT: Am on the fence for this. All variations in penalty kicks, during open play, must be encouraged to make the game even more exciting. However in shootouts, i agree, faking can be curbed.
4. Pre-match bad behaviour can be punished — Previously the game would have to start before a player could be sent off by the referee, but now bad behaviour, for instance in the warm-up period, can result in a red card before the match even begins.
VERDICT: Am wondering which player indulges in bad behaviour before the match starts? Which fool would do this? I hope it’s a rule used for correct reasons and not for wrong reasons – like a referee can decide to get into an argument with Cristiano Ronaldo, during warm up, before an El Clasico, and then red card him. Let’s wait and watch on this, because this is bound to generate controversy anytime it’s invoked.
5. Players don’t have to leave the pitch to get treatment — If a player is fouled enough for the offender to warrant a card, the injured player can receive a brief spell of treatment on the pitch. Previously they would have to be stretcher-ed off and that would mean the team on receiving end of foul plays next few minutes with a man less. it was unfair.
VERDICT: The intention behind this rule would be to avoid time wastage – in deciding if the injured player needs to be sent out, calling for stretcher, getting stretcher etc. So this rule should benefit the game to resume fast when the injury isn’t major. Thumbs up.
6. Kick offs can now go backwards — Traditionally the ball would have to be passed forward, on kickoff, but now it can go in any direction as long as one other player is in the centre circle. Which also means two players needn’t be in the centre circle during kick off; one is enough and he can send the ball towards his own half.
VERDICT: No team was every going to pass the ball forward to start an attack in the 5th second. So this rule is fine; not that the original rule was over turning the earth! So wondering why this rule was even discussed!
Although not scheduled for Euro 2016, another future rule change could be penalty goals ie goal given directly when opposition has stopped a clear goal illegally. When Luis Suarez blocked a certain goal with his hands on the goal line in the Uruguay-Ghana match in the 2010 World Cup, he was sent off and Ghana was given a penalty (which they missed). Under the proposed new law such an act would result in an instant goal for the other team and no penalty kick required.
Wow Luis Suarez name came up twice during this write up! Were the new rules made keeping Suarez’s allround abilities in mind? Ha ha!
Have a great Euro 2016!
Credits: Parts of this article has been sourced from the following link