BERLIN (Reuters) - FIFA technical director Marco van Basten would like to see how football works without offside and limit the number of fouls a player can commit during a game.
The former Netherlands striker would also like to experiment with sin bins instead of yellow cards and replace the penalty shootout with a system in which a player would have to run at goal from 25 metres.
Speaking to German magazine Sport Bild, Van Basten said any experiments would have to be approved by soccer’s rule-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
“I‘m curious to see how football would work without offside. It is becoming more and more like handball; nine players plus the goalkeeper make the penalty area dense, it is like a wall. It is very difficult to get through,” he said.
“All teams rely on the same effective tactics: countering from a stable defence,” he added.
”(Without offside), the forwards could stand behind the defenders which would make things much more difficult for them.
If the defence moved back, there would be more opportunities for distance shots.
“That would make the game more attractive, the attackers would have more chances and more goals would be scored. In field hockey, the offside has been abolished, and there are no problems,” he added.
Van Basten said sin bins would benefit attacking teams more than giving a yellow card to the player who has interrupted their move.
“It is more difficult with 10 against 11, and even more so with eight or nine,” he said.
He also proposed abolishing extra-time and using a different system other than penalties in the shootout.
“The referee blows his whistle and the player starts 25 metres from goal. He has eight seconds to score and the goalkeeper must not leave the penalty area,” said Van Basten.
A similar system was used in the defunct North American Soccer League and in the early days of Major League Soccer.
Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond