Ifab propose football rules revolution: Dribbling from free-kicks and the end of stoppage time

17/06/2017 at 12:18Updated 18/06/2017 at 11:47

The International Football Association Board have produced a raft of radical rule suggestions that, if adopted, would dramatically alter the sport as we know it.

Among the most eye-catching suggestions include players being able to play free-kicks to themselves, and referees stopping the clock every time the ball goes ‘dead’ – reducing playing time from 90 minutes to 60.

The Key Proposals

  • Players can play free kicks to themselves
  • Goal kicks do not have to leave the penalty area
  • Free kicks permitted with moving ball
  • Penalties conceded for handling back-passes
  • Penalty goals awarded for goal-line handballs
  • Full-time whistle only when ball is out of play
  • No follow-ups from penalty kicks
  • Referee to stop clock every time the ball is out of play

David Ellery, the Technical Director of Ifab, says that the proposals are all intended to improve football for spectators.

“It is a radical document,” Elleray told The Times. “You could say that it is a quiet revolution aimed at getting football even better.

“My starting point was to look at the laws and say ‘what are they for?’, and if there is no particular reason then would changing them make the game better.”

Players confront a refereeReuters

Among Elleray's ideas is to turn penalty kicks into stand-alone events, with a goal-kick being awarded if a penalty is missed or saved, removing the potential for a second attempt.

“There would thus be no need for players to crowd on the edge of the penalty area ready to run in early," the document explains. "To discourage them further, if an attacking player enters the penalty area before the penalty kick is taken the kick is ‘missed’; if a defending player does the same and the kick is missed/saved it is retaken.”

And Elleray says that Ifab believe an increased use of Video Assistant Referees would also improve the sport.

“Overall the trials are going extremely well," the technical director said. "Out of 52 games in the Under-20 World Cup in Korea there were only 12 decisions which were decided by the VAR so it is not disrupting the game.

" Referees are saying to players at corners and free kicks ‘remember, the cameras are watching you’. Players know they cannot get away with things such as violent conduct and bad tackles."

It will be at least nine months until any of the proposals are implemented, with Ifab set to decide on trials at next month's annual meeting.

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