The Offside Yap #3

In a new weekly feature on the site, we call upon some of our contributors to give their thoughts on issues in the game which have got us thinking.. This week we asked The Offside Yap team: Martin Demichelis, Danny Rose, Younes Kaboul and Wojciech Szczesny have all suffered the consequences in recent times of “denying a goal-scoring opportunity”. A triple punishment awaits the player who commits the crime INSIDE the box  – a red card, a penalty awarded to the opposition, and a suspension. Is it time to revamp the “last man” rule* in football?

Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for bringing down Arjen Robben in the first-leg of Arsenal's Champions League last 16 tie

Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for bringing down Arjen Robben in the first-leg of Arsenal’s Champions League last 16 tie

@GregHelmich – The punishment of a penalty, red card and potential goal deficit is far too harsh. It would be interesting to see the statistics on whether teams who have suffered that triple punishment have ever gone on to win a game. I doubt it very much. The players may as well just walk off as soon as the triple punishment has been enforced. It needs to change!

Well Greg, what I can tell you is that research shows that being sent off and giving away a penalty can actually make a team four times worse off than just conceding a goal.

@Rebecca_L_Coles – The penalty itself is already enough punishment without the red card and suspension. If the tackle is malicious in a worse case scenario then yes red card, alternatively a yellow card and awarding a penalty to the opposition is enough. Red cards are the killer of the game and a yellow instead would save it from becoming one-sided.

Spurs fan Morgan Hammond has seen his side twice punished by the “last man” rule this year alone…

@MorganHammond89 – I agree the triple punishment of a red card, penalty and suspension has always been the harshest rule in football. Kaboul was sent off at the weekend against Chelsea and Chelsea converted the penalty. Within a minute Spurs were 2-0 down and with ten men on the pitch the game was effectively killed off. However, that’s the way it’s always been – I wouldn’t like to see any rules changes in the game.

Tottenham were just 1-0 down when Younes Kaboul was sent off last weekend. They went on to lose the game 4-0

Tottenham were just 1-0 down when Younes Kaboul was sent off and conceded a penalty last weekend – they went on to lose the game 4-0

Jerome Champagne has promised to abolish the so called “triple punishment” rule for last-man fouls if he gets elected as FIFA president. However, Jess Martin is against a rule change..

@jessfmartin – I think getting a red card, giving away a penalty and receiving a suspension is enough of a punishment to put other players off fouling in the box. If these rules were to be revamped I think we’d see a lot more foul play in the area.

Nikki Davidson is against a revamp, yet believes minor alterations are required..

@NikkiDcfc – It should be more clearly defined by football’s governing bodies, and completely understood by both players and officials. Kaboul’s actions on Saturday, while deserving of the penalty awarded, did not warrant a red card. Did his actions necessarily prevent an undeniable goal-scoring opportunity? What exactly constitutes that and what the consequences are if it were denied should be distinctly delineated. Was Kaboul the last man? With the potential for any such ambiguity eliminated, it will be less likely that players will suffer the repercussions of violating this rule.

*The actual law states that: a player is sent off if he denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick.” 

Where do you stand? Are the laws too harsh or should we just get on with it? If there was to be a revamp, what suggestions would you make for a rule change?

Episode 29 of The Offside Rule Podcast (We Get It!) will be available on our Audioboo page on Thursday 13th March. Rather than making plans to re-write rules in the game, on this episode our ladies talk about “re-writing history”!

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