It's fair to say no-one enjoys being on the wrong end of a battering at any level of football, and the Norwegian FA have suggested one way that overly one-sided games could be evened up. Once your team slips to being four goals down, they're allowed an extra player. Notwithstanding the likely flaws in the system (once you got to three-nil up, why bother scoring another goal?) there is something to be said for ensuring games are not too one-sided at a youth level, as it may discourage players from staying in the sport.
What sprung to my mind when I saw this was Mario Kart...I'll explain. In the racing game those players in 7th or 8th get better items than those in 1st or 2nd. Whilst it would drive my brother mad that he would constantly see his mammoth lead reduced by a Blue Shell, it certainly made things fairer in the Harris household.
If we are saying the 12th man idea is a bit rubbish (and it is) what other ways could the game be evened up? What would be the equivalent of the Mario Kart Blue Shell? Bearing in mind the object should be not to punish sides for being better, just to make a game less of a whitewash so the losing side can enjoy it a little more. Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Wind machines behind the losing side’s goal. These can be turned up a notch for each goal they fall behind, till they are eventually backed up by a virtual hurricane as they attempt to get back into the match. This idea also has the added bonus effect of giving players a technical challenge as they attempt to control the ball in a gale.
2. The winning side can only use their weaker foot. Hard to enforce but once teams reach a certain lead they can only use their weaker foot. Again adds a technical challenge to that side.
3. Wave machines behind the losing side’s goal. Similar to the wind machines idea, but more fun. No discernible technical benefit.
4. Actual Blue Shells. Taken directly from Mario Kart, the losing side (ideally along with all their substitutes and coaching staff) is given missiles to pepper their opponents with during the match.
What do you think of the new proposals?
image: © xoiram42