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7 Ways to Improve the FIFA World Cup

 7 Ways to Improve the FIFA World Cup

We’ve all been enjoying a wonderful World Cup tournament that has featured some incredible teams playing the beautiful game, but there are several improvements that need to be made to make it even better.

Here are the top 7 ways to improve the World Cup:

  1. Remove the lots. To think that the fate of teams from the 2010 World Cup, after being tied for first or second place in the first round, could be determined by the drawing of balls in this day and age is ridiculous. Yes, the chances of this happening are slim, but judging by how close the teams are in terms of whether they’re better or not than other teams in the group, the odds of this happening is going to increase even more in future World Cups. A different tiebreaker needs to be used. Yes, begin with goal difference, then goals scored, then head to head and then the greater number of goals scored. But the next tiebreaker shouldn’t be the drawing of lots. It should be fair play – the team with the fewest number of yellow and red cards.
  2. Reduce the number of teams. Thirty two teams in a World Cup is simply too many. It should be 24 from six confederations, like it was in the 1982 World Cup (and other World Cup tournaments). This will help weed out teams that are simply not good enough to participate and will increase the likelihood of all games being more meaningful.
  3. Change the schedule. Playing three games a day for the first 15 days of the tournament is too much. If FIFA wants to generate as much advertising money as possible, it needs to reduce the number of weekday games and increase the number of weekend games. This way, it ensures that people around the world – no matter where they live – will be able to watch more games and the TV ratings will, as a result, significantly increase. My recommendation is that one game be played each weeknight during the first two weeks of the tournament and that the number of weekend matches increase from 3 to 6 per day.
  4. Crack down on diving and cheating. FIFA needs to come down hard on diving and cheating during a World Cup to ensure that it doesn’t tarnish the beautiful game. Deliberate simulation needs to be a red card punishment. Post-match review boards should be allowed to deliver punishment to players who used simulation (or deliberate cheating) that may have been missed by the referee and his assistants during games.
  5. Introduce video technology. During controversial incidents in World Cup games, each team will be allowed a total of three challenges which can be reviewed by video technology. This will help eliminate wrong decisions by referees and will add justice to the World Cup where unlike now many of them feel cheated by incorrect calls.
  6. Improve the level of refereeing. Rather than trying to pick an assortment of referees from around the world, it should be that the best referees are hired who have refereed at the highest levels. And it shouldn’t be just one referee from each country. If, for example, Italy has two-to-three of the best referees in the world, then those two-to-three should be picked, and so on. Instead, what we’re faced with in the 2010 World Cup, is a referee from Mali who has never refereed at a level of the Champions League or Copa Libertadores or a similar tournament.
  7. Host the World Cup every two years. To wait every four years for a new World Cup tournament is far too long. While having the tournament every two years will take away some of the sparkle of the world’s greatest tournament, having it every two years will increase the likelihood that different teams (outside of the big five) will win it. Plus, it’ll give all of the countries who want to host the tournament a better chance of seeing their dream become a reality. And it’ll help increase revenue and TV ratings for all teams who are involved. In order to host it every two years, the calendar for the European Championships, Copa America, Gold Cup and African Cup Of Nations (and other similar tournaments) will need to be changed, but I believe that most countries will be in favor of it especially since it’ll increase the chances of teams playing in the World Cup more often. The other benefit is that it’ll reduce the long and arduous World Cup qualification to a much more concise version. There needs to be a pre-World Cup qualification tournament played between the minnows to weed out the weaker teams before they play in the actual World Cup qualification process.

What do you think? Which ideas do you agree or disagree with, or are there other changes you would make? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

49 Responses to 7 Ways to Improve the FIFA World Cup

  1. 6 matches in one day is ludicrous. 2 per weekday, 3 (or at most, 4) each Saturday and Sunday.

    Simulation can’t be a red card offense, because determining what is and isn’t simulation is too subjective. The bigger problem is that most referees are too hesitant to give yellow cards for simulation; encourage refs to better enforce the existing rules, and I think the situation would improve.

    World Cup every 4 years is the only way to do it. As for the major teams winning, that’s what fans ultimately want: to see the best teams play. A smaller team winning a World Cup that’s played every two years isn’t nearly as meaningful, because an upset is more likely to happen. Also, it’s important to retain the culture and style found in continental competitions. Besides, move the World Cup to once every two years, and continental competitions will move to the opposite years, and players will never have the chance to rest.

  2. RIP says:

    Whatever it takes to get better refs so I agree about getting the best rather than representatives from different countries. The top leagues have the biggest games and should be allowed to send the best refs.

    I don’t think every 2 years is a good idea. I love the idea of having the extra games, but I think every 4 makes it very special.

    Post game reviews of diving and cheating is a great idea. Don’t change the results, but just punish players so they think twice about doing it during the game.

  3. Mike in Idaho says:

    I agree with 1,4,5,6. The games have to be evenly spread out, that is just the way it is, you can’t have double the matches on weekends as that would screw up the rest of the schedule. Having the World Cup every two years would destroy the continental competitions and take away the specialness of the World Cup.

  4. Duke says:

    8. Ban the frigging vuvuzela!

  5. Callahan says:

    Great ideas. I’d like to see the postmatch review of dives be harshly punitive based on the result. For instance, Daniele DeRossi should have received a red card for his pathetic dive that resulted in a penalty. It will likely cost New Zealand a round 2 appearance.

    Also, because FIFA will never reduce the number of teams, how about changing the qualification rules so that teams like North Korea don’t have a better chance at qualifying than, say, Ireland or Russia, simply because the Asian federation is weaker than UEFA? More lambs, less lions.

  6. francisa says:

    2, 3 and 7 is not good!….and ( World Cup every year or month is a good idea “lol” )

  7. LP says:

    Absolutely agree with everything but #7. The players are fatigued enough after a long season of play, especially with the longer season in the Premiership. Adding a tighter cycle of qualifying for the Cup, and then playing in the Cup is only going to add more injured players to national and league teams.

  8. Matt T. says:

    Disagree with number 3. I work a later shift so I’ve been loving getting to watch all the day games!

  9. MarylandBill says:

    I am definitely for cracking down on taking dives. I would say post-game video reviews of calls that lead to free and penalty kicks. If the call turns out to be because of a dive, give at least a yellow to the offending player… a red if the kick leads to a goal.

    I definitely agree about improving the refs. Just make sure they come from several different countries so that no country has a ref from its own country. Other than that, the best from EPL, Series A, etc.

    I would be for reducing the number of teams… but if they do, I would also like to see the first round lengthened. Say 4 groups of 6. That way a single flook result would be minimized and there would be a better chance of the best teams advancing.

  10. bradjmoore48 says:

    Agree with 1,4,6 and partially 5, so long as it doesn’t really interrupt the flow of the game. I think it can be used to hand out penalties, or overturn them, after matches, but it should be limited to that. As much as it pains me to say this watching 2 legit US goals be overturned by dubious off-sides calls, I don’t want the technology to be disrupting game time in the process.

    32 teams is fine, but I wonder if one or two fewer spots should be given up from Europe and handed to South America, considering their level of play this tournament. If Asia, Africa or CONCACAF show themselves well against European opposition in future, I’d argue for more WC spots for those teams as well.

    The scheduling for this tournament has only been an issue due to time zone differences. If you live on the West Coast, you could watch 2 matches before work, which we East Coasters don’t have the privilege of. Scheduling fewer matches during the week and more on the weekend won’t help this. The next tournament in Brazil will be only an hour ahead, so there will likely be primetime matches. So fear not…

    And keep the World Cup at 4 years. It makes it that much more special when its finally here.

  11. Phil Sandifer says:

    Wow. This is the single worst article I’ve ever seen on EPLTalk.

    1) A decent idea, but this is basically an intellectual exercise – no team has ever been eliminated on lots-drawing, so I fail to see how this much matters.

    2) No. Absolutely not. 32 teams is a great number – it means you can get to a round of 16 without silliness like a third-place team advancing, and it leaves room for shockers. If you cut the eight worst teams at the Cup, you’d have lost thrillers like South Africa/France, New Zealand/Italy, North Korea/Brazil, and New Zealand/Slovakia. And that’s by SPI – by FIFA rankings, you’d lose South Korea and Japan. There is not much dead weight at all in this World Cup.

    3) Rubbish. At six matches a day, it is out and out impossible to see all the matches. Between sick days, online coverage, and weekends, and the fact that in the bulk of the soccer-watching world – i.e. Europe – the matches are on at fine times, there’s no reason to muck with the coverage schedule. As it stands, the fact that only 16 matches of the 64 conflict with any other matches is one of the nicer parts of the cup.

    4) Deliberate simulation as a red card offense would be a farce – nothing that subjective should be a straight red card offense, period.

    5) Part of the basic conception of football is that it is a free-flowing game with minimal stoppages. Adding six pauses per game for lengthy reviews would make football like handegg – a turgid exercise in delays and lengthy pauses.

    6) Said referee from Mali has officiated multiple African Cup of Nations matches – solidly high class events. And in the 2006 World Cup, the worst refereeing mistake came from the massively experienced Graham Poll. Even in the best competitions in the world like the EPL, errors happen. This is part of the game – the allowing of human error in order to make the game flow faster is a deliberate decision.

    7) Yes, because putting the World Cup in the same summer as the Olympics is a great idea. No – this would result in, basically, a major international tournament for most players every year. The resulting loss of rest time and increase in injuries would be a disaster. The World Cup is something special, and four years is a good schedule for it. Compressing the qualification process would lead to chaos with the league schedules, and reduce the sport across the board. A terrible idea.

    Seriously. These ideas are complete rubbish.

  12. McBride says:

    “2. Reduce the number of teams.”

    Terrible idea.

    This hasn’t really become a “World” Cup until it stopped being 70+ percent UEFA and CONMEBOL. The way to grow football is have more of the planet invested in the games, not less.

  13. dontcallmepaddy says:

    1. Remove the lots.
    Agree 100% that fair play should come into it before this. They need to change this soon as it’s bound to happen someday.

    2. Reduce the number of teams.
    The problem with 24 teams (as it was in 86, 90 & 94) was that it meant four of the six third-placed teams got into the second round, and if you ask me coming third out of four teams is not really deserving of such a reward. And the way they had it set up in 82 with the second group stage meant there was no knock-out football until the semi-finals, which I think would be a loss. We all saw how bad the Champions League was with a second group stage. 32 works well, and the quality of the “lesser” teams has improved over the last few World Cups.

    3. Change the schedule.
    I do like the idea of there being more games on the weekend than during the week, though probably not to the same extent. 6 matches in a row is a lot of time to spend in front of the tv on a summer’s day!

    4. Crack down on diving and cheating.
    If a post-match video analysis panel is put in place to crack down on incidents such as Rivaldo pretending to be hit in the face in 2002, or Henry’s handball last year, it would make a huge difference. Do you really think either event would have happened if the player in question knew they would have faced a lengthy ban?

    5. Introduce video technology.
    I may in the minority, but I’m still completely against the idea of using video technology during games. The less stoppages, the better. I think using it after games at this point is far more important.

    6. Improve the level of refereeing.
    I agree to a point, but there probably should be a limit per country too. Three Italian refs would be fine, but ten?

    7. Host the World Cup every two years.
    Madness! Every four is what makes it so special. Like the Olympics, only better!

  14. toucego says:

    Well, first of all sorry about my english… :P
    I agree with the 1, 4, 5 and 6.
    2- The number of teams is good just because it is a “world Cup”, every country should have the opportunity of playing a world cup. If its was only 24 teams has you say maybe US had to play with Mexico all the times to be there(in their confederation) and that wouldn’t be fair.
    3- The schedule is good, maybe you are not use too watch a lot of games in one day alone, but in Europe or Latin America it will be very difficult to find a supporter that don’t enjoys watching a a lot of games. It’s like saying to reduce the amount of sports in the Olympic Games just because people doesn’t have the time to watch them all… LOL
    7- I don’t know if you are aware but the Word Cups can only be in every 4 years because of the Euros, Copa America, etc, that none of this confederations would like to give up on then. Also it would stage a World Cup and a Olympic Games in the same year…there is a agreement to this doesn’t happen between FIFA and COI…This is why the is no real teams in the Olympic Games, just U-20 and 3 with a age above that…

  15. erik the viking says:

    Gaffer,

    Your having a laugh arent ya mate.

  16. Matt says:

    Gaffer, seriously, what is going on here. Did someone hijack your laptop or something.

    I can agree with 1 and 4, and to some extent 5. The fair play idea is a interesting way to incorporate a program that is really, at least to me, a policy without any real bite. 4 is a great idea as is 6. I would much rather have the officiating crews from UEFA that were deployed during EURO 2008, and one crew from each other respective confederation. European footy is by far the closest to the quality of the World Cup Finals. This is a way that you could eliminate the rookie officials from nations such as, oh, I dont know, say Mali for example, who find themselves making utter rubbish decisions and looking back to see that he has gotten it completely and totally wrong!

    The only way i would be in favor of video assistence is for goal line technology. I feel that this could help influence matches in a proper manner without bogging down the flow of play. If I ever see a little red hanky on a footy pitch, i swear…

    2, 3, and 7 are ideas that I expect to see on ESPN soccernet or something. Come on Gaffer!

  17. Max says:

    Worst. post. ever. These are the stupid ideas you come up with when you watch the World Cup at Wowies.

  18. Dan says:

    Really, Gaffer? I expected more sense.

  19. Pakapala says:

    1. Remove the lots.
    The thought of your qualification hanging on the drawing of a lot is scary, but let’s remember there’s a reason it never comes down to this. That’s because there are many other tie-breakers before you even get to this. Sure we can use fair play as a tie-breaker but what happens if both teams are tied on fair play points? Eventually it will have to come down to picking a team out of a bowl. Either that or have the 2 teams play an extra game.

    2. Reduce the number of teams.
    What are the games in this world cup that have not been meaningful? To get where they are now North Korea had to beat other teams. Anyone still think New Zealand or Slovenia did not deserve a spot in the World Cup? It’s funny how the more we witness upsets and competitive games in the world cup, the more some people still think that the so-called weak teams do not deserve their spot in the world cup. Yet, there were more lopsided games in the WC when we had less teams allowed.
    24 teams is not good, no longer should we go back to the “best 3rd place” BS we had between 1982 and 1994.

    3. Change the schedule.
    6 games in 1 day??? Who is gonna have time to watch 6 games in one day? Only pundits and analysts who’s work revolve around football. I agree that 3 games per weekday is too much. At the most 2 games per day is what I would prefer.

    4. Crack down on diving and cheating.
    Agree with cracking down on diving and cheating. But to me a straight red might be pushing it too far. The offender might receive a yellow or red depending on the dive, just like hand ball.

    5. Introduce video technology.
    I like the idea but this will not help eliminate wrong decisions, contrary to popular belief. Ask NFL fans how it works for them. And like I said in another post, FIFA would not do it unless they can guarantee video technology is available in all leagues sanctioned by them.

    6. Improve the level of refereeing.
    Why is it that whenever a referee from a country that is not among the usual powers in football, have a bad game, some people think it’s because of his nationality and because he’s not refereeing in the biggest leagues in the world. Following that logic, the EPL should be full with top class referees who never have a bad call or bad game, right? Howard Webb, anyone? Why when an English or French or Italian referee have a bad game, his nationality and experience doesn’t come into discussion? Fact of the matter is the place where the referee is from has nothing to do with his performance at the world cup. FIFA only choose experienced referee who have refereed international games already. And yes they have to come from different countries, so as to promote neutrality.

    7. Host the World Cup every two years.
    Bad idea! The continental tournaments and the Olympics happen during those 3 years we wait for the next world cup. There’s plenty of games to whet your appetite between World Cup years.

  20. Lyle says:

    Reducing the number of teams is a horrible idea. Actually, it might ought to be expanded in the future. Leaving it at 24 teams doesn’t guarantee jack other less people interested in it cause their team ain’t there. Financial it’s a horrible proposition and teams from Asia and Concacaf still need to be let into the tournament. Really, will the other North American countries allow for there to be only 2 teams from North America? No way.

    Horrible, stupid idea.

    • Julian Espinoza says:

      I say, I agree. Once the United States hosts the World Cup in 2026 (or later), they’ll have surplus stadia to go around. Why not allow 64 teams to enter and spread the joy around? If 21 stadia’s not enough, we can always introduce a partnership with the rest of NAFTA, and embrace the sport in the United States.

  21. Lyle says:

    The other stupidity mentioned is having the World Cup every two years. Where then goes the Euro and the Copa America?

  22. wozza says:

    What an odd way to start an article entitled “7 Ways to Improve the FIFA World Cup”: “We’ve all been enjoying a wonderful World Cup tournament…”!

    2. Fewer teams/weed out the smaller nations – You clearly have no romantic bones in your body, gaffer. Isn’t the prospect of the smaller, unexpected teams causing a major upset (New Zealand/Italy for example) part & parcel of the excitement of the game of football alongside promotion/relegation (well, at least outside the MLS)? And doesn’t the participation of these “simply not good enough” teams give their respective nations something to collectively cheer for?

    5. Video technology – apart from the age-old argument against this of “breaking the flow of the game”, this will just introduce an opportunity for the broadcasters to claim that as the game is already held up for video calls, we might as well have some ads in there too. And why only 3 challenges? I’m pretty sure there have been games with more than 3 dodgy decisions per side. If it’s really necessary, a ref behind each goal would most likely serve the same purpose and not stop the game unnecessarily. Yes, they’re still human – I realise that some think human error has little place in the game of football.

    7. Every two years – As others have said, that’s a really well considered point… what about the European Championship etc? Every 2 years too? So a major international championship every year for a huge number of countries. I’m sure that’ll improve the quality of the performances.

  23. Jay says:

    I partially agree with number four. I don’t think a straight red card is the way to go. But I love the idea of a post match review, during which players that are clearly diving get punished with a match ban.

    I was just talking to a co worker (who isn’t really a football fan) today about the world cup, who said something along the lines of “I love the skill, I love the physicality of the game, I love the action, but I get so sick of the diving, I end up turning it off”.

  24. Disagree with everything you say, getting rid of diving and improve referee’s is a given but all your new ideas are just silly,

    but. A World Cup every 4 years is harsh, every 2 or 3 would be much more tolerable.

  25. Jason Gatties says:

    All your ideas suck

  26. nick says:

    GAFFER!!!!-Sometimes you get carried away with your own self importance,in all my time of reading this blog have never read such nonsense by a grown man……………

  27. Munish Gupta says:

    World Cup every 2 years will take out the spark of it. And I agree weekdays games should be less and weekends game should be more.

  28. brn442 says:

    Stick to 32 teams. The standard of World Football has increased exponentially since the 70′s and 80′s. The days when you had 11 no name players from a no name country that got beaten 11-0 are over. Apart from DPR losing the plot vs Portugal. There are (almost) no easy matches.

    The weekend thing seems promising but 6 matches Sat/Sun will throw off the rotation.

    Every two years? you must be having a laugh, between club and confederation football, throw in tedious, grueling qualifying campaigns, the logistics of hosting a tournament – you won’t have any healthy players left. Phil’s points are well taken. I don’t want there to be such a thing as too much World Cup Football.

  29. Louis Nosko says:

    I was puzzled when the reasoning for having the World Cup every two years could mean a greater variety of winners outside the “big 5″. Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany–that’s 4. Who is the fifth of the big 5? France? won one World Cup & have been right there in the previous 3. England? won one forever ago, and are never really serious threats to win it. Who is the fifth? Spain hasn’t won it,or come close. Netherlands been in a couple of finals, but never threatened to win those games. Uruguay? won 2 in prehistory, but not close since. Who is the 5th? And don’t say England

    • Julian Espinoza says:

      Oh, man, if you read this comment today…

      It’s Spain’s time now. The “Furia Roja” made it through the World Cup and Euro 2012, so it’s part of the Big 5… for now. It’s all down to the Confederations Cup next year, however, to see if they truly deserve it. Their arrogance got in the way of victory against the United States in the semi-finals in 2009 (was that a lucky shot for the U.S. or what?), so I’m waiting to see if they enter the Finals. If they win the Confederations Cup, then they deserve #1. If they lose… in the finals, that is… they’re still in the Big 5, behind Brazil and Germany. Anything else means that Spain was in one Nether of a lucky run, considering that they only lost a speck of times between 2008 and today.

      Also, the Netherlands… don’t worry about them. They were Eli’d out of the first round of Euro 2012, so their lucky run is over. At this point, I’m only concerned as to how Mexico is doing. My father says that they’ve taken down CONMEBOL big-boys in friendlies many times, but they’re well bribed into shaming themselves in big events. Mexico needs to realize why they go into the World Cup, the Copa America, the Confederations Cup, etc.

  30. Chris says:

    agree with # 1

    everything else is rubbish

  31. Kevin says:

    Change the offside rule. The current ruling is hard to judge and is frequently wrong or punishes what would otherwise be a good play.

    For starters remove the offside rule once the ball has entered 18 yard box. This allows quick tactical passing inside the box.

    During the South Africa Mexcio game a Mexican goal was disallowed near the goal line when the keeper was slightly up field leaving only one defensive player between the play and goalline instead of the requisite two – incredible.

  32. Kristian Downer says:

    Hi just a quick summary, generally i disagree with most of the article, but thats no bad thing :)

    1) I agree with a different method, but fair play is a ridiculous suggestion, why not a penalty shootout between the teams, that would be better than fair paly

    2) The number of teams should not be reduced, 32 is a good number and means that it is not just the same teams every year, the beauty of the competition would be lost with such a reduction.

    3) I love 3 games a day, it is a proper festival of football, ok its not ideal for TV but you cant keep everyone happy.

    4) I agree in principal, and i think Fabiano should be punished for lying to the referee, however this is notoriously difficult to do

    5) video replays in the way most want them will not work

    6) I agree

    7) Are you on drugs? seriously no, the world cup every four years is brilliant, having a ‘world champion’ every two years cheapens the competition beyond belief.

  33. Angry Trey says:

    Everyone of your ideas were terrible.

  34. Huffer says:

    A few rubbish suggestions have sparked some good dialogue. My two cents:

    1) I think the best solution to the rampant diving/cheating problems needs to be based in finances. Have FIFA officials review every camera angle after each game, an obvious dive that has minimal effect on gameplay, the team is docked a small percentage of their world cup haul, a crucial play, a larger percentage. Would be nice to tie it to individual players’ salaries, but that would be tough.

    2) Add an extra linesman to each end. Their sole job would be to watch the action in the goal box. This will help in calling fouls on corner kicks, and also adds an additional angle for viewing those crucial PK yielding dives.

    Side Note: I am surprised how much I love Kevin’s idea above of removing the offside rule once the ball is within the 18 yard box. It’s almost all guesswork at that point anyway…

  35. Dave C says:

    I don’t like to offer unnecessary criticsm, but this was kind of a lame article. The points discussed are either the same old cliche stuff that is already debated to death elsewhere (like more refs, video technology etc), or ridiculous stuff that I assume was just troll-baiting to increase page-views and stir up comments (eg playing six games a day, having the world cup twice a year).

    But here’s my thoughts on the issues:
    1) This was the only point that doesn’t fall into one of the two categories above (cliche vs troll-baiting). I agree that drawing of lots would be a ridiculous solution, and I can guarantee that if a team had to go home simply on the luck of a coin-toss, there would have been a huge uproar that would result in this rule being changed in future. I think fair-play stats might be the fairest and most feasible method of choosing a winner. Getting the two teams together for a one-off shoot-out of some kind would just involve to much logistics. Although having said that, it’s probably not worth worrying about the situation too much since it is unlikely to ever happen.

    2) Horrible idea, and a huge backwards step. Do you remember Italia ’90…all those first round games played, with the end result that only one-third of the teams went out after the group stage. And the team that finished 3rd out of 4 could still go through?? Plus, it was probably the main reason for such horrible, boring defensive play at that World Cup – teams were happy to settle for draws because that would still allow them to seal 3rd spot.

    3) Horrible idea. Just because it’s not convenient for an American TV viewing audience doesn’t mean we need drastic changes. I’m sure for most of Europe and Asia, the schedule works out just fine.

    4) Done-to-death. Everyone would like to elimate diving, but a straight red for diving is never gonna work. As it is, refs can give yellows for diving, but rarely do because it’s just so hard to tell if someone has dived, was tripped, or just lost balance. The refs don’t wanna hand out a yellow card and then subsequently be proved wrong and criticised, so they err on the side of caution unless it is absolutely blatent. And if we upped the punishment to a red card, the refs would be even more cautious. You could make that rule, but no ref would ever stick his neck on the line by giving someone a straight red for diving unless he was 10000% sure.

    5) Done to death. I’d like some kind of in-game/instantaneous review, maybe along the lines of extremely limited coaches challenges. However, it just doesn’t fit the game – would you wait until the next stoppage to allow a challenge? Or would you stop the game in order to make a challenge?

    Imagine if the ball hits the crossbar, bounces down (no-one’s sure if it’s over the line or not), returns into play, and then the defending team take posession, go 5 mins without a break in play, and then eventually score. Do we “re-wind” the game all the way back to the first incident to decide if it crossed the line, and thus void-out all subsequent action??

    If the a ref calls someone off-side when he’s 1-on-1 with the keeper, and the call is subsequently overturned by video review, how do you make ammends for that?

    I don’t agree with post-match reviews either, for this simple reason. What if C. Ronaldo goes down for a penalty in the final. He steps up and scores the penalty, and Portugal wins the world cup 1-0. Now what if after the game, they decide the penalty was actually a dive, what do FIFA do? Give C. Ronaldo a token fine/suspension, thus admitting he cheated? But by then it’s too late – they’ve already won the World Cup, and you can’t take that back.

    And the same issue applies not just for a final, but any game. If FIFA allows results to stand, while admitting the results were caused by cheating, they’re opening all kinds of cans of worms. Losing teams will demand replays, etc etc.

    6) Tempting to agree, but as people have pointed out, even refs from the “good” continents make mistakes too, and I’m not sure there’s any evidence that refs from the “weaker” footballing regions make more mistakes.

    7) Pure crazy talk on so many levels: (a) it will clash with Olympics/European championships; (b) it will reduce the “specialness’ of the world cup; (c) players will suffer exhaustion; (d) S. American qualifiers take 2 and a half years already – how will that fit into a every-2-years schedule?

  36. Andrew says:

    This FIFA is controlled by some antiquated fagots, who in 21st century can concoct reasons for abandoning the use of technology. Referees are truely helpless if use of technology is abandoned.

    I think football playing countries should come together and replace FIFA with a more modern and orderly truely world class championship series which is based on fairness and the true sportsmanship not poor judgement and dependency on luck!

    The best way to improve world football is to replace FIFA – it has lost its relevance in this modern world, as it has failed to moderize itself.

  37. dave priest says:

    with regards to 7) you are all talking out of your vuvuzelas!! what poppycock.

    of COURSE it should be every 2 years. It’s black and white- clear as day and the reasons given by you lot are complete nonsense. Watch while i feed you some logic and run rings around…

    To add to the points made by the original author..
    1) what sport has a world championship only every 4 years??
    2) the euros are a yawn so if england miss a beat and don’t qualify for one then we have to wait 8 years in between seeing them in any meaningful action.
    3) god the qualifiers are numbingly awful and they DO get in the way of the domestic season
    4) what’s all this rot about not having an international competition every summer? the game is there for the fans you idiot! i’m sure the players would love it- extra chance of glory and they still get a decent rest. if they wouldn’t want to represent their nation every summer then we’ll find ones that do- there are soldiers coming home in boxes from afghan while the england players are returning to their villas and mansions. and you want to protect them from more football in the summer. idiots! england will probably only play a couple of matches in each one anyway
    5) makes it more special if it’s every 4 years? grow up!! it is what it is. wasting oceans of time in between does not make it any different
    6) it would help developing nations get into world football more by giving them a regular chance to compete against better nations
    7) world football is too segragated. the best european and south american teams only playin each other in anger every 4 years?? what nonsense
    8) it would give players who suffer from george best’s situation (e.g. Ryan Giggs) more of a fighting chance to qualify
    9) having it every 4 years puts too much ******* pressure on it. that’s why we get all these injuries and scandals i think. I’ve been studying sport psych. at Brunel Uni for 7 years+ so think about that before you dismiss it…
    10) top flight careers last 7-8 years (mean average), so if a player is unlucky with injuries (like bryan robson was or Ballack this time) and his country stuffs up a qualifying- he may never get to play on the world stage.
    11) All these disasters that england suffer wouldn’t seem half so bad if we could come back every two years and try again, if we all lived for 200 years then every four would be fine… BUT WE DONT
    12) we only do it this way because that’s how it all got worked out in the 30s, FIFA is so reactionary and backward thinking (sepp esp.) that we haven’t even LOOKED at the alternatives. inertia my friends.
    13) the commercialism of club football is making it increasingly meaningless and *****! that’s why we fail as a nation. the balance needs to swing back to international matches. A club team at the highest level is not really about an ehtos, a community, a tradition any more- it’s just business. Arsenal might as well be Barcelona might as well be Man U might as well be Rangers might as well be effin Liverpool. it’s all the same. Great big conglomeration of players from everywhere in one team it’s like the tower of babel… it doesn’t matter what industrial estate out of town the stadiums are in and what colour shirts they play in. All the same. What we need is more international football. The revenue would go to the entire game.

    if you don’t like that.. jump in a sheep dip!

    • Dave C says:

      Dave,
      With regards to hosting the world cup every two years, let me offer some counterpoints to the arguments that you put forward:

      1) What other sports have a world championship every 4 years? Hmmm quite a lot actually. Basketball. Cricket. Rugby Union. It’s pretty standard throughout most international sports. In many other sports, the most prestigious world wide event is the Olympics, which are every four years. Track&Field athletics might have a world championships every 2 years, but realistically those championships are trumped in teh popular imagination by the Olympics.

      2)The Euros are a yawn?? I think a lot of people would disagree. Euro 2000 has often been described as one of the most exciting football tournaments of modern times. Euro 2004 and Euro 92 both threw up a real dark-horse, which is more than the WC ever has done. A lot of people say that the Euros are a higher level of competition, because all of the 16 teams involved are fairly strong – there are no minnow teams like New Zealand or Trinidad & Tobago making up the numbers (no disrespect to those two teams, they’re just the first two “minnows” to come to mind).

      3) The qualifiers are numbingly awful?? Well if you have twice as many world cups, you’ll need twice as many qualifiers, so the domestic season will be even more disrupted. Unless you’ve got a better way of selecting 32 nations out of 200 to compete in the world cup.

      4)Can’t be bothered to argue about this. What does “the Afghan” have to do with anything? No one is suggesting that playing football is as arduous as being in the army.

      5) Yeah you’re right, everyone who disagrees with you should grow up because we’re all immature, that’s our problem…
      No really, of course having the world cup every 4 years makes it more special. Which do you think hurts the most – being knocked out of the world cup, knowing you might not get another shot at it in your career? Or getting knocked out of (for example) one of the main 4 tennis events, knowing you’ll have another 3 attempts in the next twelve months.
      Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say…

      6) This one is arguably true. I won’t bother discussing it further.
      7) Arguably true…but I’d say that what makes it special in the first place, the rarity of seeing the top teams come together (see point 5)

      8) I don’t think it would improve Ryan Giggs/George Best’s situations all that much. They’d still be playing for a weak team, they’d still be seeded into tough groups, and most likely they’d STILL fail to qualify even if you held twice as many world cups.

      9) The world cup brings a certain level of pressure BECAUSE it is (arguably) the most-watched, most prestigious football tournament in the world, where teams carry a ridiculous amount of national expectation. Making it every two years would only decrease the pressure BECAUSE it would decrease the level of prestige and interest (in the same way as the tennis example).

      10) Same as 5.
      11) Same as 5. I don’t want to dilute the appeal of the world cup. If it doesn’t feel so bad to loose, then it will never feel that good to win.

      12) & 13) Don’t have time to talk about…

  38. martin says:

    I am also in favour of having the world cup every second yr – let us just abolish the continental championships – the world cup is so much more diverse, better, exciting and great for promoting soccer world wide. As a soccer fan I would not have a problem hosting this at the same time as the Olympics – but maybe it could be arranged when they collide to minimize overlaps. this would also only been a problem every fourth yr – with championships every second yr, more hosts would get a chance and some of these could be used to avoid too much overlap (climate etc). And the Olympic games could delay their events a bit as well – or risk loosing out to the greatest show on earth !

  39. Leszek says:

    Only 1 thing is very important to change:

    1. Introduce two legged ties (like in qualification) into 2nd Round, Quaterfinals and Semi-Finals. This would eliminate the dreaded reality of defensive teams playing for a penalty-shoot out. It would force teams to use more open-minded, offensive tactics. Also, a great team can have 1 bad day and lose by a stupid goal. They should get another chance, like they do in the 1st Round. The World Cup would be longer about 2 weeks, which is what we want. It would also have alot more dramatic and memorable games.

  40. Andrew says:

    I think I have a solution to this age old debate. Make the World Cup EVERY 3 YEARS! ie.
    2019 Continental Qualifiers
    2020 Continental Cups
    2021 World Cup
    2022 Continental Qualifiers
    2023 Continental Cups
    2024 World Cup
    To qualify for the world cup you would have to firstly qualify for your continental cup & then the best teams in the continental cups qualify for the World Cup. (ie European quarter finalists all qualify & continental semi finalists in Asia, Africa, South America etc. qualify for the World Cup. If for example Africa has 6 places in the world cup then the losing quarter finalists would play in brief play-offs for the last 2 spots.
    This means the current continental champions always contest the World Cup & it also cleans up the rather disorganised continental structure we currently have with:
    African & North American Cup every 2 years
    South American cup every 3 years
    Asian & European Cup every 4 years
    By making all continents use a 3 year cycle it adds clarity to international football & club football as well.
    For example:
    Almost all of the continental qualifiers are scattered throughout the club football seasons especially club football in Europe. Currently many of the best players in qualifiers are not released by their European clubs & so you get second rate sides in continental cup qualification.
    This however can be solved because a simplified 3 year international cycle could be achieved in one period of the year:
    Early August to the end of April the next year – European Club football.
    May – rest and training.
    June and July – Continental qualifiers OR continental cups OR World Cup.

    The 3 year cycle also gets rid of the many anti climaxes we currently have. For example the qualifiers for the 2011 Asian cup were held after the World Cup qualifiers but before the world cup! No one seems to care if you are going to qualify for the Asian cup when you are currently qualified for the world cup. Then the Asian cup seems like an anti-climax & then there is 2.5 years until the next world cup qualifiers. Ridiculous!
    Also in Africa the African cup was held after the World cup qualifiers. Egypt was crowned African champion but didn’t go to the World Cup! Madness!
    But with a 3 year cycle once the world cup is over the next year for most countries begins the process of atonement & the first step is to qualify for your continental cup if you want to again reach the world cup. It creates a feeling of gradual achievement & importance.
    Having a 3 year cycle appears to be a perfect compromise between both 2 year & 4 year supporters.
    Common criticisms of 2 years.
    -Either you have to get rid of the continental cups or you have to cram too much international football into each year which the rich football clubs would never allow.
    -It reduces the special quality of the World Cup because if you lose then you can try again in 2 years.
    A 3 year cycle solves the first point as it keeps the continental championships & it also simplifies & de-clutters the busy football calendar. I also suspect that if FIFA proposed this 3 year cycle to the various confederations they may even prefer it to the current 4 year cycle. A 3 year cycle also offers a compromise to the second legitimate criticism as a 10 year international career currently means 2.5 World cup chances. Under a 2 year cycle it would mean 5 World Cup chances & a 3 year cycle, however offers the compromise of a player participating in 3.3 World Cups in a 10 year career.
    Common criticisms of 4 years.
    -Its just too long to wait.
    -Was originally devised in the days when you had to voyage around the world on a ship to contest the World Cup.
    -Also note all of my above criticisms of the current 4 year format.
    In summary. I think that the problem with the argument between 2 years & 4 is that no one seems to realise that a compromise can be reached. Or maybe people think that things can only be done in even numbers but when you think about it, 3 is quite a beautiful number don’t you think?

  41. Sebastian says:

    I totally disagree with you in many of these points. I’d like to start by pointing out that i am a Bucks New Uni student and study International Football Business Management.

    1. I do agree with you that yellow and red cards should be used as well as head to head score. I thought however that it was down to red/yellow cards already for a tie break. You sure it isnt?

    2. Reducing the number of teams would not help the tournament as the tournament is to find the best team and if you already knew which were the best, 24 why have a tournament. I mean, who do you think deserves to be in the top 24 out of these countries: South Korea, Turkey Brazil, England..? The truth is that Turkey and South Korea have made the final 4 more times than England in the last 5 world cups. As skill increases in all countries, more teams deserve to be in the final rounds.

    3. Schedule changing wouldnt help, not like that. There needs to be 21 games a week for the tournament to work. The tournament only lasts one month, and to elongate the whole thing wouldnt please the players. Also by keeping the number of games the same everyday it stays fair for all teams.

    4. You cant crack down on diving cos it is part of the game. If you get away with it you DO get a fine.

    5. I would guess that you are american, and it is understandable that you dont understand this aspect of football. It is not a game that can or ever will be stopped in order to find out if a call was right. This game is about passion for the game. If something a player does isnt obvious enough for the ref to see it, then they prob didnt deserve it. Also, if they cant reproduce, then they deserve even less.

    6. Having several referees from the same country would be like having several teams from the same country. The refs need to be different so that there is more diversity in the ways of refereeing.

    7. Hosting it every 2 years would not be sustainable for FIFA. It wouldnt even make it better for the viewers. The fact that it is every 4 years makes it such a big and rare event. Also with the 15 other tournaments FIFA has to run, it would require a much larger workforce. It would mean that coaches may not take the tournament seriously in order to test a team for a potential better team in 2 years time.

  42. KaizerSoze says:

    We have to keep 32 but only the first will qualify to make 2 groups of 4 and again to 1 of each group qualify to the final.

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