Van Basten proposes 'Fussball-Revolution'

Until now, new FIFA technical director Marco van Basten has kept a rather low profile, but he has come out in favor of experimentation that could revolutionize soccer. An American-style shootout, used by the old NASL and MLS, in its early years, to break ties is one of the tamer measures.

The German tabloid Bild outlined the rule changes van Basten proposes for his "Fussball-Revolution and to put before the International Football Association Board to approve for experimentation:

-- No offside rule;
-- Penalty box for carded players;
-- Increased number of substitutions;
-- Substitutions on the fly;
-- Maximum number of fouls allowed per player; and
-- No stoppages for more than 10 seconds during the last 10 minutes of a game.

"I'm curious to see how soccer would work without offside," van Basten said. "It is becoming more and more like handball -- nine players plus the goalkeeper make the penalty area dense. It is like a wall. It is very difficult to get through. All teams rely on the same effective tactics: countering from a stable defense."

Besides the shootout, the NASL used a 35-year offside line until it was banned by FIFA in 1982.

"[Without the offside rule], the forwards could stand behind the defenders, which would make things much more difficult for them," added van Basten. "If the defense moved back, there would be more opportunities for distance shots." That would make the game more attractive, the attackers would have more chances and more goals would be scored. In field hockey, the offside has been abolished, and there are no problems."

What do you think of these proposed rule changes?
24 comments about "Van Basten proposes 'Fussball-Revolution'".
  1. hc metz, January 18, 2017 at 10:21 p.m.

    Revolution indeed. But one I can do without. No offside? We'll see the return of the overweight mid forward, a sight to behold... more substitutions = more fouls (maybe that's why he then needs the max rule and timeouts to compensate) and also more strange tactical messing about, the 10sec stoppages will head to frantic nonsense and a ref in panic... the introduction of disallowing the goalkeeper to pick up the ball from a pass was perfect and did wonders, but not this nonsense...

    Why do these idiot functionaries need to prove their worth by destroying the game? I think while there maybe could be more of an incentive to not only play defensively, other than that competitive soccer is just fine as it is.

  2. Kent James, January 18, 2017 at 10:24 p.m.

    I think it is great for someone of van Basten's stature to suggest such things. My main concern about abolishing the offside rule is that I fear it would eliminate the flowing attacks that I think make up a lot of the beauty of the game; I fear offensive players would mostly remain in the penalty area (so the ball would flow end to end, but the players would not). I agree that a stable defense/counterattack has become the norm, and that is not a positive thing.

    I think a better solution to the problem of a packed defense is a larger goal (1 yard wider, 1 foot higher). Players would increase their chances of scoring on more distant shots, so defenses would have to come out farther to cover, opening up more space in the box. But I do think we should try some of these things in some games that don't count for anything, but still using good players

  3. Mikhail Pecherskiy replied, January 19, 2017 at 8:45 a.m.

    I agree with Kent that the goal should be slightly wider, I would start from 7-8 inches wider, as for canceling the offside I think instead of implementing such an extreme measure we should start with video replay first, It is really great that we discuss this topic! something needs to be done soon!

  4. Dennis Mueller, January 18, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.

    I think a better way to promote attacking would be to have a rule that at least 3 (or 4) players must be in the attacking half at all times with offsides enforced at 30 yards or so. That would make for 10 v 7( or 6) if the attacking team threw caution to the wind, more likely it would lead to both teams getting stretched with more dynamic shifts from defense to attack.

  5. Zorn Ronald, January 18, 2017 at 11:16 p.m.

    Simple rule modification: When a field player plays the ball to the goalie from anywhere on the field the goalie must receive and play the ball out from within the goalie area (the 6 yard box).

  6. Rod Vernon, January 19, 2017 at 12:19 a.m.

    I'd modify the first rule to suspend offside after the ball has moved past the 18yd box. If the ball goes back across the 18yd line then the offside rule goes back into play. Agree with #2--Penalty box time outs would encourage refs to call more cards in finals to protect the creative players and encourage more technical play. The recent finals (MLS, Euros, Copa, etc.) have all gotten out of hand while refs are too worried to "ruin" the fan experience by sending off.

  7. beautiful game replied, January 19, 2017 at 9:45 p.m.

    This VB proposal is an idea for a new sport which has no genetic resemblance to global football which should be tweaked to be more offensive. The game speaks for itself; it's the human element on the pitch, if not controlled, leads to thuggery and chaos.

  8. Thomas Brannan, January 19, 2017 at 4:35 a.m.

    Would be difficult to go through all the above suggested by Van Basten. So:
    1)OFFSIDE; any part of the attackers body even with the second last defender when the ball is played is on side.
    2)This is unique. ENFORCE THE LAW. No holding/grabbing, shirt pulling at all.
    3)Limited use of REPLAY. Nothing that interrupts the flow of the game. One example, if a goal is scored and is offside that could be identified by tape prior to the kickoff.
    I hope Van Basten leaves his brain for science. Then maybe some progress could be made.

  9. Boris Spektor, January 19, 2017 at 7:59 a.m.

    I do not like the changes of Van Basten.
    Football is not the hockey or another game.

  10. Wooden Ships, January 19, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    I'm one lucky guy, I love the game as is. Bravo, Boris.

  11. Fire Paul Gardner Now, January 19, 2017 at 9:55 a.m.

    Each "idea" worse than the next from this guy. The game is fine - leave it the way it is.

  12. trebor gt, January 19, 2017 at 10 a.m.

    Bad ideas and unnecessary.

  13. Jim Johnson, January 19, 2017 at 11:01 a.m.

    No offsides! I agree and have said so for years!!! It's a stupid rule, prevents scoring and... sadly, isn't really understood by so very many in the US.

  14. frank schoon, January 19, 2017 at 12:40 p.m.


  15. Chris Morris, January 19, 2017 at 1:20 p.m.

    In situations like this the question is whether a problem can be dealt with in the present context, or whether a rule change is needed. The backpass rule was a good example of an improvement that the existing system could not provide. But take for example the current problem of referees being unwilling to send players off in big games (Howard Webb Syndrome). Introducing an orange card to deal with this is simply admitting that referees do not properly enforce the existing rules.

  16. frank schoon replied, January 19, 2017 at 2:15 p.m.

    Was the backpass rule necessary really necessary. Would this happen better to make it so if a goalie does receive a back pass he has to get rid of it within 3 seconds, for example.

  17. Steve Unger, January 19, 2017 at 1:44 p.m.

    I played in an outdoor tournament w/o offside ... as a keeper I got hammered by forwards hanging out in the penalty area. No offside works in futsal and 7v7 it doesn't change the game for the better on a full pitch. However sub rules could change and probably will in the future.

  18. Jack Carter, January 19, 2017 at 5:24 p.m.

    You can change the size of the field, the areas within the field or the size of the goal, but please don't add more rules. American football practically requires a lawyer to interpret what happens. As it is, the players and commentators don't understand the few rules there are.

    And I hated the shootout in early MLS. It is a failure to accept a tie even though the game is over.

  19. Mauro Nobre, January 19, 2017 at 5:36 p.m.

    I am surprised that someone like Van Basten would suggest eliminating the offside rule. This is the most ingenious rule in any sport, and eliminating it would destroy the game. The offside rule is what makes space behind the defenders possible, which allows for counterattacks and also building up with possession. That is because defenders are encouraged to move forward by the rule. Eliminate it and you will not have any space. Those who think eliminating offsides would allow attackers to get behind defenders are naive. With the rule they can get behind defenders because defenders are encouraged to move the offside line as far up as feasible. Without the rule defenders would simply guard attackers man to man. For every attacker that moves into the opponent's penalty area to cherry-pick, the defending team would compensate by dropping back one or more defenders to man mark. So in the end there would be a group of attackers and defenders permanently stationed at each of the penalty areas, and sending long balls back and forth. It would become essentially a ping pong game. No midfield play, no possession, no counterattacking, no space behind the defenders. Unbelievable that Van Basten is not aware of the effects of the offside rule, and would contemplate such a profoundly misguided suggestion.

  20. Mauro Nobre replied, January 19, 2017 at 5:39 p.m.

    Part of the naivete involved is that advocates of eliminating the offside rule presuppose that defenders would continue to behave as they do under the rule. They presuppose that defenders would continue to push forward, allowing attackers to get behind. That is incredibly naive. The only reason defenders push up is BECAUSE there is an offside rule.

  21. Amos Annan, January 20, 2017 at 3 a.m.

    Modify the offside rule to the 30 yard line to open up space... defenders would have to stay back more.
    YES, on the orange cards.
    Only review scoring opportunity plays on video replay and give coaches 2 opportunities to challenge a call.

  22. beautiful game, January 20, 2017 at 11 a.m.

    Jim J., obviously the off-side rule is a mystery to you...IMHO, it doesn't prevent scoring, it actually shows the winner/loser between the cat & mouse game of the offense v defense.

  23. Stuart Murray, January 20, 2017 at 6:31 p.m.

    Van Basten is right.

    In fact, the game should go even further to bring it out of the 19th century:

    6 points for a goal from field play.

    1 point for a spot-kick "conversion" after a goal from field play.

    3 points for a penalty score.


    When this is implemented in 2055, remember, you saw it here first.

  24. len bilous, January 23, 2017 at 7:04 p.m.

    Some great experiments brewing for sure.

    I would suggest extending the penalty area to the sidelines...this will allow attacking plays to continue since a penalty kick would be awarded for any direct free kick fouls the whole width of the field. Awarding penalty kicks for such fouls will certainly reduce and possibly eliminate the tactical fouls that players currently use to terminate a clever attacking move from out wide.

    Please note that goalkeepers hand privileges would be restricted to the same dimensions of the penalty area that is currently in use.

    The extended penalty area for foul purposes would then be identified with a broken or dotted line. Since the players are now also much more athletic, you may want to bring the penalty are out from the goal line another 7 yards, making the penalty area approximately 25 by 80 yards (of course, the width would differ based on the width of the field)

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