Football is set to get tough on time-wasters by forcing substituted players to leave the pitch at the nearest touchline.
The concept has been extensively researched and trialled by the International Football Association Board, the game’s rule-makers, across the world to stop teams using substitutions as a way to wind down the clock. IFAB have been determined to tackle time wasting in the game and a concrete proposal will be made at the group’s annual general meeting next month.
If the new rule is agreed, it will come into effect at the beginning of June and be used in English football next season.
‘We have been testing this’
“We’re proposing to change the substitution rule, the players should leave the field at the nearest point in the boundary line to avoid unfair time wasting,” IFAB secretary Lukas Brud told i. “We’ve been testing this. There are many situations where this has been used tactically to waste time. We’ve done good research and testing around the world on that.
“We were contacted by a number of Associations interested in testing the idea and we had some very good results, which will be discussed and potentially be brought in on June 1.”
If the rule is passed, referees and officials across the globe will be written to explaining the new change ahead of the June 1 deadline in order for them to prepare.
Discussions for the idea have been taking place for the past two years and testing has been carried out during the last 18 months. “We now have a set of data and statistics and a proposal we’ve discussed with all our bodies of how it’ll be implemented,” Brud added.
Reducing length of halves idea scraped
The prospect of reducing the length of halves to 30 minutes each and stopping the ball when it was not in play had been discussed by IFAB, but it would require separate officials to operate a clock, similarly to the stop clock in basketball, and it was deemed inviable below top-level football.
“Some things are reserved for top-level football, such as VARs, goal-line technology, additional assistant referees, but for the length of matches and such a fundamental change to the game we know the idea was dropped,” Brud said. “We’re looking at measures to avoid time wasting and improve time played.”
During the World Cup, referees were also asked to take extra care deciding on additional time.
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