FIFA technical boss Marco van Basten has revealed that he would like to make radical changes to the current rules of football

FIFA only recently introduced widespread format changes to the World Cup that will go into effect starting with the 2026 World Cup. The new format will see 48 teams take part in the tournament instead of 32, and marks a massive change to the World Cup the likes of which have not been seen for a long time.

And if Marco van Basten has his way, the changes won’t stop there. The former World Player of the Year was appointed by FIFA in September to oversee all technical areas ranging from innovations in technology – such as video assisted referring – to other advancements.

The Dutchman has now revealed that he also has more long-term plans for the game, which involves scrapping rules that have been in place for decades. Van Basten feels that this is the only way to keep the game honest and dynamic, while also making sure it is attractive enough for viewers:

“We must keep looking for ways to improve the game,” Van Basten said in an interview with Sport Bild. “To make it more honest, more dynamic, more interesting, so that what we offer is attractive enough. There are lots of variations which need to be tested in the coming years.”

“I am very curious how football would work without offside. I fear many people will be against it. I would be for it, because the football now resembles handball. Nine players plus the goalkeeper make the penalty area dense, which is like a wall. It is very difficult to get through.”

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 09: Marco van Basten of the Netherlands arrives for The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016 on January 9, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
Yes we can : Marco van Basten feels football requires widespread rule changes to stay attractive (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

Van Basten also had another radical idea. He feels that instead of yellow cards, players should be given time-outs as this is much more of a threat to teams. He also felt that the time penalty would be more of a benefit to the team who suffered the foul.

“You have little use for a yellow card for the opponent as an attacking team. One idea is to replace the yellow card with a time penalty of five or ten minutes. That frightens teams more. It is more difficult with 10 against 11, let alone with 8 or 9. “

The Dutchman was’t done there, however, and had several more ideas. One included changing the penalty shootout system to yet another Hockey-inspired format, where the outfield player would dribble from 25 metres out towards the goalkeeper and attempt to score.

He also said that he would like to take inspiration from Basketball, where players have a maximum number of fouls allowed. Another change was to do with time-wasting. Van Basten feels that many teams take advantage of the last ten minutes and constant stoppages are a big problem for fans.

To combat this, his idea was to introduce a rule where the ball “must be rolling” for all 10 minutes of the final 10 minutes. Other changes included flying substitutions, an increase from the maximum 3 substitutions allowed and fewer games a year.

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