Results have not always come by easily in the 2014 Football World Cup. As many as 5 games in the group stages ended without a single goal being scored. And now, in the final rounds, we see many games needing extra time and penalty shootouts to single out the better side. And long stretches with few or no goals, are not exactly what the fans come in for.
This made the FIFA officals put on their thinking caps. “I was casually going through a game of Cricket. When I saw the powerplay being employed, it caught my interest,” says Julio Humberto Grondona, Senior Vice President, FIFA. “I thought we could try something similar to make football more interesting. I proposed this to other FIFA executives who liked the idea. We tried this in a few domestic games and it seemed to work well. So we are now going to make it official.”
The first ten minutes of each half would be the mandatory powerplay. Only 2 defenders other than the goal keeper would be allowed in the penalty area at this time for both teams. Each team gets to pick five minutes of additional powerplay, where only the other team cannot have more than two defenders in its penalty region.
“I learnt that batsmen in cricket began looking for flying starts after powerplay was introduced,” said Grondona. “In the same way, this could lead to more goals in the early stages of a football game. That would open up games and set the stage for more interesting contests.”
The finals of the 2014 World Cup would be the first match with the new rules. “What better occasion to shift the pace of the game to the next level?” asks the FIFA executive, “My heartfelt gratitude goes to the game of cricket for giving me this wonderful idea.”