The more beautiful game? Your ideas to improve football

The Independent asked for your ideas on how to improve football in response to Lord Mawhinney's proposal last week to settle draws with penalty shoot-outs. From sin bins to scrapping offsides, here are some of your views...
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Penalty shoot-outs at the start

Chris Coverdale

The current practice of deciding the result of a game on the basis of a penalty shoot-out at the end is unfair and unsatisfactory. It would be a vast improvement if the penalty shoot-outs were held at the start of every knock-out competition game with the result to stand as the deciding factor only in those games that end in a draw after extra time.

Referees need a "man-management badge"

Aubrey Harrison

Referees need to achieve a qualification in man-management and to have their "management badge", instead of simply resorting to frequent use of the trusted yellow and red cards to strengthen their presence. In addition referees should be fined a portion of their match fee for every yellow and red card they show.

Early restart

Brian Curtis

Exorbitant goalscoring celebrations hold up the game. Allow the referee to restart the game one minute after the scoring of a goal, regardless of how many players of the goal-scoring side are back in their own half. This would get players back in their own half quicker and so avoid time wasting.

No points for 0-0

Brendon Shanahan

Teams would no longer go to Old Trafford, Emirates, Stamford Bridge and park the bus for 90 minutes.

Stay away from the ref

Wahyd Vannoni

Do not talk to the referee. Too much time is wasted by players who complain endlessly to the referee. Not only is this pointless, for a referee never changes decision, but it frustrates spectators and viewers. Solution: red card for anyone who approaches the referee with the intention to complain or put pressure on him.

Revise the offside law

Mark Thackeray

The offside rule needs a simple revision. Move the line at which a player can be offside from the halfway line to a newly marked line midway between halfway and the goal line. The poor linesmen only have to run up and down 25 yards of touchline. This would make for fewer stoppages and wrongly called offsides.

Abolish the offside law

Alison Hilton

The offside rule seems to bring nothing but negatives. It compresses the play, encourages defenders not to defend and reduces attacking skill to one of inherent pace rather than a coached skill/ability. It is impossible for officials to make the rule work and the situation has been made worse by the recent "interpretations", leading to constant challenges of decisions by players and managers, unrest in the crowd and monotonous analysis by the media.

Point to the system

Ian Carter

A victory by at least two goals would earn the winners three points. A 1-0 victory would earn only two points. In the event of a draw, then only the last team to score would earn one point. The emphasis would be for the leaders to score a second goal.

Sin bins

Graham Heslop

Similar to those currently used in rugby, if a player receives a yellow card he should have to leave the pitch for a 15 minute period. This would also apply to goalkeepers who would have to be temporarily replaced by an outfield player.

Extra time with relaxed substitutions

Jon Reisner

Play the customary 30 minutes of extra time, but allow players who had earlier been substituted to be eligible to rejoin the game. All 16 players could be substituted on and off the field.

Timekeepers to cut out time-wasting

George McKell

Follow ice hockey's example and install a timekeeper who only lets the clock run when the ball is in play, thus cutting out time-wasting. As things are, the true length of a game can vary from 40 minutes to 60 minutes. Make it a 60 or 70 minute game, divided into two halves.

Stop the clock

Dan Ritterman

Follow the example of every other sport with a clock; count down from 45 minutes to zero and stop it whenever play stops. If a player is actually hurt it allows for him to get proper attention and goalkeepers won't take forever to set up goal-kicks. This would also get rid of the inaccurate time that is added to each half. We have the technology, why not use it?

Stay on their feet

Jan Penn

From the way that players manage to stay on their feet outside the penalty area, it's clear that they are itching to fall over once they get into it. A way to discourage diving would be to require that the attacker, when fouled in the penalty area, must demonstrate every reasonable effort to stay on his feet. If he can't be seen to making this effort, then he does not get awarded a penalty but gets a free-kick outside the box.

League won on goal difference

Barny Brain

It is not drawing that makes a game dull, it is lack of ambition. Too often a side will score and then sit on the lead. That is boring. Instead of totting up the points for wins and draws we should go purely on goal difference. Superior teams won't be content to settle for just 1-0 wins and the bottom clubs won't be relegated weeks before the end of the season, thus maintaining effort to the very end.

Play until someone scores

Simon D Lewis

Extend past the length of two full games until a winning, sudden death goal. Don't whine about the potential for injury and a mistake ending the game. That's the way it is. Go for it. Suck it up. Get stuck in.

Secondary penalty

Savvakis C Savvides

Have a secondary penalty (for less serious offences in the penalty box) where the referee will position the ball further out - say at the level of the penalty box or at the top of the arc of the penalty box.

Book the team, not just the player

Alfredo Putino

Instead of booking a player, book the team. Mark the player's name (who will then be disciplined as appropriate) but the whole team is now on one yellow card. A limit of two yellow cards per match can be imposed - if there's a need for a third yellow card, then it automatically becomes a red. No one will want to be the "third" offender. Straight red cards would also be assigned to the whole team and any subsequent offence, if it's the third card, would again merit another red card.

Penalty goals

Geoff Poole

Why not award a penalty goal for clear-cut opportunities as is the case in rugby union or award a penalty for cynical challenges just outside the box? For those cases where a clear-cut goal is not the issue, why not order a compulsory substitution of the offending player with a team having to play with 10 men only when all three substitutions have been made.

Spending limit

John Federico

Why not limit the amount of money able to be spent by clubs? It would stop all the wanted players going to one or two clubs, because once a club had spent its budget for that season it could not buy again until the following season. Certain clubs, because of the influence of their owners, have made too much uneven competition and in all the leagues the same teams are getting to the top.

13-man squads

Peter Lye

Go back to a maximum of 13-player squads with a maximum of two substitutes (plus perhaps a dedicated substitute goalkeeper). Cash-rich clubs who are prepared to shell-out millions on squad players, would be much less inclined to do so if they couldn't include them.

Turn the League into the Cup?

Kevin Naughton

Make the League into a series of cup "ties". Each club plays every other club home and away. Each game would see three points to the winner and one each for a draw, just as now. Except an extra point to be awarded to the "victor" of the "tie". The victor would be decided with away goals counting in the event of a tie and, if needed, extra time.

Let play continue...

Steve Burford

... when it is obvious the player has an insignificant injury. If he's not injured he'll soon get up if play continues. If he does need attention then the physio can deal with it while play continues.

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