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A better solution to the proposed new rules to football


By Steven Doherty


Croke Park, in its infinite wisdom, have suggested these 5 new rule changes that they believe will improve football as a spectacle…

Proposal (1)


To introduce a restriction of three consecutive passes of the ball with the fist or open hand by players of the team in possession.

Proposal (2)

Sideline Kick

That the ball shall be played in a forward direction from the kick.


In the case of a side-line kick being taken by an attacking player on or inside the opponents’ 13m line, the ball may be kicked in any direction.

Proposal (3)

The Mark

To extend the application of the Mark to the clean catching of the ball on or inside the 20m line from a kick delivered on or beyond the 45m line without it touching the ground.

Proposal (4)


The Penalty on the day for a Black Card Infraction or two Yellow Card Infractions – an ordering off for ten minutes in a Sin Bin.

A subsequent Black Card Infraction shall be penalised by the showing of a Black Card followed by a Red Card.

A subsequent Yellow Card Infraction shall be penalised by the showing of a Yellow Card followed by a Red Card.

In either case there shall be no substitution allowed.

Proposal (5)


For a kick-out, two players only from each team shall be positioned between the two 45m lines.

The goalkeeper and a maximum of six players from each team shall be behind the respective 45m lines, until the ball is kicked.

The ball from the kick-out shall travel beyond the 45m line before being played by a player of the defending team.


A simpler solution…?

While the arguments rage over whether football even needs rule changes, it’s patently obvious that these five proposals stink the place out. Overly complicated, they’ll revolutionise the game as we have traditionally known it and be a nightmare to officiate at inter-county level, nevermind at pitches up and down the country.

Traditionalists argue that the game evolves, that coaching evolves and that while there is an over-reliance of defensive systems, bodies behind the ball and lateral hand passing, it’s up to innovative coaches to find a way around this.

However, for those of us who have witnessed, for lack of a better phrase, ‘blanket defence’ football for far too long now the case for a new approach seems overdue.

I’ve pushed this simple two part rule for a couple of years now and I’ll push it again. Why? Because it’s far less radical and complicated that many of the five proposals on the table. It won’t profoundly alter the game as we’ve always known it and it should be easy to implement at club level too.

I’m calling my proposal…


‘Two Simple Rules From A Simple Man’

Rule 1: each team must have at least 3 players in both ‘45s’. (i.e. a set of full forwards and a marking set of full-backs). This would do the two things that the modern game misses. It would encourage kick passing into the full forward line. And it would mean no more of this 29 players shuffling around in one ‘45’, laterally passing the ball ad nauseum. The two linemen could officiate this quite easily.

Penalties for one or more of the three players leaving the ‘45’ – first penalty would be a ‘45’ kick. Second infringement would be a penalty kick.

Rule 2: hand pass to be with the closed fist only. No more of this flicking the ball basketball style, where the ball is even thrown at times. Again, this would encourage more kicking.




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