7 Ways to Improve the FIFA World Cup

June 15, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Brazil v North Korea FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group G - Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - 15/6/10..Brazil fan with a replica FIFA World Cup trophy.

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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