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What rule changes would you like to see in the world of soccer?

rule changes soccer

Not long ago, World Soccer Talk brought up five potential rule changes to soccer. By no means are these proposed by FIFA or any domestic league. In fact, those leagues look fairly set in stone.

However, every now and then, rumors start to stir up over how the governing bodies could modify the rule book. Small things like cooling breaks are one thing. Yet, instances of reducing the length of games to deciding major fixtures with golden goal appear to be just one step away.

This is not to say all changes are bad. In fact, there is an argument to be made that adding the number of substitutions in the games makes them more exciting. As seen in the English Premier League, teams now have access to five substitutions as opposed to the three from previous years. This allows players to be at full fitness, hypothetically making games more even and balanced. It also lessens the likely for injury, which continues to be a problem in the sport.

Then, there is something like VAR. Everyone loves to hate Video Assistant Referees because they are beyond picky when it comes to calls. Could this be changed in some way? Totally removed? Everyone has a take in that regard.

Rule changes in soccer

We want to know if you would change anything about the current rule set of soccer in the world. There are often small differences for each league. Yet, your favorite league may only allow three substitutions, for example.

What are the biggest changes, or smallest changes, for that matter, that you would make to soccer? Or, perhaps you think the game, as it is right now, is perfect. Hard to argue with how exciting games can be. Refereeing issues and controversy may just be part of it!

Use the comment section below to let us know.

PHOTO: Patrick Goosen/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images

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  1. Asko

    July 28, 2022 at 9:30 am

    Stopping clock on goal kicks, subs, injuries.

  2. Lovac1

    July 28, 2022 at 7:54 am

    1. The player has to leave the field for 5 minutes after receiving yellow card.

    2. If the physio comes on the field and the game is stopped, the injured player must stay 5 minutes on the sideline, except if he needs to be subbed which can happen immediately. The injured player can limp off of the field, get help, and come back immediately.

    3. I like the hockey rule where refs can call embelishment and infraction at the same time. I’d like to see same rule in soccer where refs can give yellow cards for diving and foul simultaneously instead of splitting hairs. It would discourage diving.

  3. Darren

    July 25, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    No more substitutions during “Injury Time”.

  4. TK

    July 25, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    I would like to see more yellow cards handed out. Keep better track of accumulating fouls, both when targeting specific players (like grealish or Neymar) or the players committing them. Should be 4 fouls (committing- count resets after receiving a yellow, targeted-every foul against that player after 4 is automatic yellow).

  5. Tony

    July 25, 2022 at 11:34 am

    I would recommend a couple of changes to the game:

    1. Make the 4th referee handle substitutions while the game keeps running. The game should not stop for substitutions. This should improve the flow of the game, eliminates interruptions and results in less added time for substitutions at the end of the game. Also, the winning team will not be able to use substitutions as a time wasting tactic anymore.

    2. Eliminate off-sides all together. This means less controversy and less VAR interruptions to review off-side calls. I cannot think of a negative impact from this rule change.

    • JP

      July 25, 2022 at 11:39 am

      Just change the offside rule so only offsides if the body is completely beyond the final defender. Aligns more with the NHL offside where the play is ok so long as any part of the skate is on or above the blue line. Eliminating it all together would alter the game to make it unrecognizable.

      • dave

        July 25, 2022 at 6:45 pm

        @JP, to build on NHL, I like that replay rescinds goals for offside by way of challenge, and that the challenging team loses something of value if they lose the challenge. Perhaps it is losing a sub and sub-window in soccer
        CONMEBOL international games are often more forgiving with offside than UEFA. Instead of the line-drawing nonsense, CONMEBOL replay often eyeballs how bad it is with ties going to the offense. Not as permissive as you suggest, but in that direction. The women’s Copa 2022 has not even been using VAR

  6. cmasia

    July 25, 2022 at 2:11 am

    1) From this day forward, only the captain can speak to a referee.
    Watching grown men remonstrate and beg is not attractive.

    2) Move to a “Rugby Clock”.
    Some guy hits the turf and tries to sell he got hit with sniper fire?
    Stop the clock.

    3) Extra time? GONE!
    Clock stops for a goal. 30 seconds.
    Clock stops on a substitution. 30 seconds.
    Clock stops on an injury or a fraud on the floor.

    • dave

      July 25, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      @cmasia, your suggested timing rules are similar to NCAA soccer. Count down is from 45:00 with clock signaled to stop by ref for goals, injuries, cards, time wasting, etc. The crowd and announcer often give the “10-9-8…” chant at the end of a half much like you sometimes hear just before kickoff. Timing certainty changes end game strategy a bit

    • TheOriginalTom

      July 26, 2022 at 9:35 am

      Rugby timing I agree with. No “buzzer beaters”, when the clock is out the half or game ends on out of bounds or goal. And more exact clock management for injuries, goal celebrations, and substitutions. And free kicks where 10 yards is requested.

  7. jason

    July 24, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    1. Offsides has to be loosened up. Give the benefit of doubt to the attacker. Plus seeing defenders raise their arms all the time instaed of actually defending is annoying. Standard needs to be full body with a visable gap of air. Not a finger tip.

    2. Sin bins. Yellow card means you are off the field for 5 minutes. Maybe certain fouls you are off for 3-5 mins too

  8. Kyle

    July 24, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    ‪A rule that mls next has put in which could be interesting is when a player gets a red card, they have to miss the next match against the same opponent instead of the next match.

    Also make the length of the red card vary like if it’s early in first half, in theory ‬that is a 2-4+ game suspension depending on the severity of that red if you include the red they got sent off for plus the games they’ll be missing for. If it’s a 1 game suspension, it should be treated like college football’s targeting rule to where if it’s a first half red card,
    They miss the rest of the game they’re in and then they can’t play for the first half of the following games. They can be named as a sub , but can’t be used as a sub until halftime ,

  9. Buckles

    July 24, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    I like the idea of no more penalty shootouts. I like golden goal but they don’t need two 15 min halves of silver goal. Just one 30 min period of silver goal first. Then 30 min of golden goal. They can incorporate a break into that and substitutions as well.
    The offside adjustment I agree with also. It keeps the spirit of the rule. Leave everything else alone.

    • Tom McCool

      July 24, 2022 at 4:27 pm

      I would like to see the backpass to the GK changed so that no matter how the pass is delivered, the GK has to play the ball. No more catching from a header. There are bigger time wasters but this one is easy to eliminate.

  10. Ivan

    July 24, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Pubic hair offside rule has to go. Goes against the spirit of the game, and against the rule as originally designed.

    The waiting 5 minutes to raise the flag by the linesman is also a shocker. Has to go. Offside is offside.

    While at it, VAR has to go as well. It has sucked the joy out of football.

  11. Tim Bhoy

    July 24, 2022 at 8:56 am

    Prohibit any club that has gone into liquidation by ripping off more than 240 creditors to re-emerge as a different club, yet Call it the same club, simply by adding “the” before former club’s knickname.

    Follow, follow me here. If NY Yankees went bust, another owner buying the remnants of the old club, re-naming it as “The Yankees”, then insisting hid new club was the same as the old club.

    • TheOriginalTom

      July 26, 2022 at 10:28 am

      Why does this issue bother you?

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