The Guardian’s Sean Ingle on ‘how to make football beautiful again’

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
May 4th, 2006 • 1:12 pm

I am afraid The Guardian‘s Sean Ingle has hit the nail on the head with his latest column titled “How to make football beautiful again.”

While there is no denying that football can still be a beautiful game at times, there is also no doubt that high-stakes games such as knockout rounds and tournament finals tend to be boring and fail to live up to the hype. There are always exceptions, of course, but the trend is very real, and the stats are there to prove it. (I’ll be the first to admit that some 0-0 draws can be terrific games, but again, they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.)

Sean Ingle’s suggestions make sense. The footballing authorities should at least give them a try. But they seem to have become a very conservative bunch. What would it take to change this status quo? Nobody wants to see a huge financial crisis in world football, but it’s hard to imagine what else would spur the authorities to take action. A major scandal in a major competition’s final? Nobody wants that either…

In addition to Sean Ingle’s suggestions, I would also try changing the rules regarding the number of points awarded in championships. Instead of 0 for a defeat, 1 for a draw and 3 for a victory, I would suggest 0 for a defeat, 1 for a draw, 2 for a victory with a single-goal advantage, and 3 points for a victory with a lead of 2 or more goals. This change would, in effect, mirror the system used in knockout competitions with return legs. If you win with a one-goal lead in the first leg and lose with a two-goal deficit in the second leg, then you’re out of the competition.

The specifics can be discussed, of course. But I agree with Sean Ingle that something needs to be done. When even a team such as Arsenal ends up adopting a negative approach, you know something is wrong.

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