Sepp Blatter wants to find an alternative to penalty shoot outs in the next couple of years. He claims that ‘football should never come down to one vs. one’. Yet penalties often decide some of the most important matches of major competitions, and the destination of trophies. Of the five competitions open to premier league clubs last season, two of them were decided on penalties (whilst the premier league itself was decided on goal difference after injury time goals in the final match of the season).
So what is my alternative? The golden goal an silver goal trials of a few years ago were on the right track. The golden goal rule said that the once a game goes to extra time, the next goal wins and ends the game. Silver goal games ended at half time in extra time if one of the teams had taken the lead. The problem with both of these methods was that teams generally became negative. They were so scared of conceding a goal, and therefore losing the game immediately, that teams were reluctant to push players forward in case they over stretch themselves and leave openings at the back.
A better solution is this. At the end of 90 minutes the game goes into extra time and the first goal wins the game, as with the golden goal format. But every five minutes in extra time, each team loses one player. So at the beginning of extra time it is eleven vs. eleven (assuming no sendings off in normal time). After five minutes both teams go down to ten players each. Another five minutes and it’s nine vs. nine, and so on. Potentially at the end of 30 minutes of extra time it will be six a side.
This approach means that the longer the game goes on, the more space on the pitch to attack into. As players get tired they are more likely to make mistakes and give scoring opportunities.
After extra time, of the scores are still level you would have to go to penalties (with the whole team eligible to take one). But I’m sure the number of occasions that penalties would be required would be fewer.
What do you think? Are there any other good alternatives to penalty shoot outs?