Should we remove penalties from the game?

January 16, 2015

“What they should do is to get rid of penalties altogether?”

A friend made this suggestion to me the other day and once I started thinking about it, it seemed to make a fair bit of sense. So here goes.

Recent discussions on AA have focused on referees and how difficult it is for them to sort the wheat from the chaff when player behaviour is designed to deceive. Diving to win penalties by conning the officials seemed to be the start of it, so I wondered if removing unjustified penalties from the game may have a beneficial effect.

Discussing it with my brother, we tried to estimate how many penalties were proper reward for the rule infraction. In other words, how many had stopped genuine goal attempts. We set the bar at about 3 out of every ten, though thought it may be even lower.

Think of game situations where a penalty is awarded but doesn’t justify a free shot from 12 yards……….

Defenders having to stand with their hands behind their backs on the edge of their area, worried that the ball might be blasted against their arms. Wingers getting a toe to a ball which is heading off the pitch and waiting for “contact” from a full back making a genuine attempt at a tackle. Forwards making no attempt to stay on their feet when a much bigger reward ensues from going to ground easily.

There must be plenty if the 3 in ten assessment is anywhere near correct.

Conversely, referees rarely give penalties when there is shirt tugging and holding at free-kicks and corners. This is because the reward far outweighs the crime.

What could be done to resolve this perceived imbalance between infringement and reward?

Why not make all non-goal threatening incidents in the penalty area a direct free kick from where the incident took place rather than a penalty? Personally I love it when indirect free-kicks are awarded close to the goal and mayhem follows with 8 man walls and the attacking side having to use ingenuity to breach the barrier.

The existing penalty could be reserved for handballs on the line, last defenders hacking down a player as they are about to shoot and any other instance where it looks like a goal would have been scored.

Surely the reward for many incidents in the box far outweighs the actual crime? What do you think?

Written by chas

Footnote ….

Apparently Arsenal are very good at conceding penalties 🙂 Chas’ question of the day has also been touched on in an  article in the Independent ….

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/laurent-koscielny-jokes-there-is-no-place-in-the-guinness-book-of-records-for-conceding-penalties-9782354.html