FIFA World Cup: From offsides to substitutes, how football rules have evolved over the years to make the sport more interesting
Being a global sport, football has always been popular across the globe. From Europe to South America, the game has garnered a huge fan following while also producing some of the best players the world has seen. If Maradona and Pele were representing Argentina and Brazil's vibrant flair in different eras, then we have the calm and composed figures of Luis Figo representing the Portuguese wing in a different period.
What's in a Jersey? Everything!
To every football fan, having a jersey of their favourite team is a must. But in the yesteryears, it was even harder to distinguish the two teams based on their Jerseys, much less distinguishing players by their numbers. But as time progressed and matches became broadcast around the world, the jersey rule was invented which saw different teams adopt different colour jerseys, and later numbers were designated to differentiate the players.
If not for this rule, we would not have had brands like CR7 or LM10 in football.
The rise of the game in the 1800s
Imagine playing with a different rule in South America and a different rule in Europe. We are not talking about the local football tournaments but the international circuit having its own rules. This was the case till 1848 when the first attempt to bring together a collection of rules to be used everywhere the game was played was made at a meeting in Cambridge.
Until 1863, carrying the ball with the hands was still practised in several schools. We have all heard of footballing fights and even enjoyed some iconic ones involving red-card ambassadors like Ramos. But these are nothing compared to football back in the 1800s or even 1900s, where it was a challenging sport because there was no room for playing it soft
Cricket is often called the Gentleman's game but can we say the same for Football? Roy Keane would believe otherwise. But this became a reality till 1871 as captains of both teams were asked to maintain the rules and no referees were present on the field. Fast forward to 2018 when Video assistant referees or famously called VAR were also included in the sport. So much for the 'EX Gentleman's game.'
Back pass and its demerits
The 1992 Euros is remembered majorly for Denmark's unbelievable performance as they went on to clinch the ultimate European title. But it is also remembered for the negative football being played all through. A back pass is when a player passes the ball back to his goalkeeper who then picks up the ball. FIFA changed this rule of the game and prohibited the goalkeepers from picking up a deliberate back pass, changing the sport changed significantly.
Yellow and Red Cards
When we say that there won't be any Red card or Yellow cards awarded to a person who commits a foul in football, eyeballs would definitely turn. Definitely benefitting players like Granit Xhaka, Sergio Ramos and Pepe, who might find themselves unlucky, having been unable to play the sport before the 1970 World Cup, which is when this rule was introduced.
Away Goals rule
The away goal rule is the method of determining the outcome of a two-legged tie in case of an equal aggregate score. If one team had scored more away goals, they would qualify for the next round. This rule has helped the Champions League experience some of its most iconic games.
Over the years, Barcelona and Chelsea have played out some quality contests. One such match was their 2012 Champions League meeting. Chelsea reached the Champions League final after the game was tied at 2-2 after a late Torres goal at Camp Nou.
The PSG vs Manchester United 2019 game is still remembered by a lot of football fans because of the intensity of this game produced at Old Trafford. If it wasn’t for Marcus Rashford’s heroics, Ole Gunner Solskjær’s spell at United would have been an average one. The game was tied at 3-3 and it was United's 2-goal advantage at Le Parc des Princes that helped them through.
The Golden and Silver goal rules
If we are talking about rules that have been abolished, we should not forget the Golden and Silver goal rules. The Golden Goal rule allowed the game ends when a goal or point is scored; the team that scores that goal or point during extra time is the winner. Introduced formally in 1993, though with some history before that, the rule ceased to apply to most FIFA-authorized football games in 2004.
It was supplemented by the Silver Goal rule that UEFA introduced for the 2002-03 season. This meant that if after the first fifteen-minute half of extra time the scores were not level, then the team leading would win, but the game would no longer stop the instant a team scored.
Competitions that operated with extra time would be able to decide whether to use the golden goal, the silver goal, or neither procedure. Although the rule had its fans, in February 2004 it was abolished owing to the game shifting to a more casual approach.
How frustrating it is when a last-minute winner is turned into an offside by the barest margin? Well! The rule didn’t just develop overnight in the past century, it has progressed in different ways. The initial rule of offside in 1866 indicated that a player can pass the ball forward providing three players of the opposite team were between the ball and the opponent’s goal.
Due to such a specific rule, a lot of goals were denied and thus lead to another amendment in 1907 according to which a player could not be offside in his own half. In 1921 another parameter was added that favoured attackers more than defenders. The rule developed over the years and thus a tactical change of using more defenders was a result of this.