Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, has raised the possibility of the Premier League playing shorter games as discussions continue about football’s return.
With little room in the calendar for players to return to full fitness after the lengthy coronavirus-lay-off, some are said to have raised concerns for their safety. According to leaked ‘Project Restart’ proposals, clubs are eager for the remaining 92 games to be played as soon as possible and have earmarked nine match-days across seven weeks, starting from 12 June.
The fixture pile-up, which doesn’t take into account FA Cup matches and possible European involvement in August, appears to have led to some pretty left-field proposals, including shorter halves.
On one level, you can see the sense in shortening games – players are right to have concerns about how their bodies might cope – but changing the format of the competition would surely raise further questions about the integrity of the rest of the season, which is already due to play out behind-closed-doors at neutral venues.
Other proposals include:
The ‘not over-head-height’ rule
To stop sides hoofing balls into empty terraces to waste time. This is supposedly liked by the FA who think it could help improve the technical quality of young English players.
To minimise the need for ball boys and girls. This is said to have gained a lot of traction with players who are even open to full 25-man squads being fielded at the same time to create a truly nostalgic school playground feel.
Shown to players who’ve been caught spitting on the pitch. They’d be sent to a sin bin for 15 minutes to watch an educational video presented by Matt Hancock about the prevention of spreading germs.
If there’s one thing football hasn’t been enough like down the years, it’s pinball machines. Now we have a chance to step back, reset and go full tilt at new idea which could revolutionise the game and make it more entertaining. Random multiball periods in games could allow for goals at both ends at the same time!
No dope tests
Despite doing stuff on their exercise bikes and treadmills, physical fitness will be in short supply, and it’s likely that players will be more prone to injury when they start playing again. Entertaining the millions watching at home is the most important thing, and nobody wants to see the top players limp off and spend weeks or months sidelined.
If clubs know that no dope tests will be made, they can pump up the lads with the best PEDs from the Lance Armstrong Institute, meaning they can run faster, jump higher and keep going longer and longer. If they do pull a hamstring or do a cruciate, they’ll be so off their boxes they won’t even feel it.
Teams will be allowed to use up to seven substitutes to mitigate fatigue and … hey, wait … that actually makes some sense.
We’ll stop here.