FIFA is corrupt colostomy bag, and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) is helping them fill up. How else would you explain its stupid concept: Messing with the laws of the game. On Feb. 28, the next time IFAB meets, that’s exactly what the game’s rule-makers might do.
Let’s get some perspective, people. They’re called laws for a reason! You can’t just go changing things like substitution rules or messing with triple punishment as if these things aren’t 150-year-old institutions. Granted, neither of those rules are, but that’s beside the point. Soccer is about tradition, whether IFAB agrees or not.
A brief history lesson: IFAB is a board consisting of four FIFA representatives as well as one person from all of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, none of whom know jack about the real tradition of our sport. That tradition was forged back in the 1800s, when public school boys from Sheffield met their peers from London on the battlefield in the now defunct town of Westshireborough. All that remains of that once thriving metropolis is a small plaque commemorating those teenage lives lost. The hours behind makeshift ramparts, spending the blood, sweat and tears of England’s muscular Christians cast soccer on its current path. The winners went on to play soccer, the losers were relegated to rugby, and later Australian Rules Football.
That’s why soccer’s rules are so sacred, a sanctity FIFA clearly does not uphold. Not only has the governing body put the idea of a fourth, extra time substitute on the upcoming Annual General Meeting agenda, but it’s also planning to address “triple punishment” – situations where a defending player gives up a penalty kick, draws a red card, and is thus suspended for the next game. Some people feel the punishment is too harsh. Do we actually live in a world where IFAB might agree?!? If you don’t think they had triple punishment in the 1800s, you’re fooling yourself.
Electronic tracking systems, penalty boxes, and new handball rules are also on the agenda (not all issues will be voted on), but let’s not lose sight of the real issue. We love the game for what it is, not what it could be. One you start messing with things like last man penalties, substitutions, and uniform numbering, you might as well put goal posts at each end line and allow field goals. The Americanization of the game is getting ridiculous. What’s next? Water replacing lager at halftimes?
Yeah, soccer didn’t used to have subs, it now has them, and the game is arguably better for it. And acknowledging triple punishment is sometimes harsh may be a good idea. But what about the legacy of Westshireborough? What about those lads from Sheffield? What about the tradition! Rules got us here. Anything else is anarchy.
I swear to god, sometimes I’m ashamed to be American. If we get more reasonable punishments, or fourth substitutions (which would only be used in extra time, which only happens on rare occasions), we might as well go to four quarters. This is bunk.