Should FIFA limit the number of players in a wall?
October 8, 2008 • Water Cooler
In our previous article, we discussed the idea of FIFA changing or removing the offside rule in order to increase the game’s lack of goal scoring. Another possible way we could help increase the number of goal scoring opportunities is by limiting the amount of players allowed in a wall during free kicks.
The reason for a free kick is to penalize the team who committed a foul and provide a scoring opportunity for the opposing team. However, the free kick is not so free! The team defending the kick can create a wall 10 yards away from where the kick is to be taken. This wall is meant to block a direct shot on goal. The problem lies with the amount of players that are allowed in the wall. There is no limit!
Of course, if a team wanted to include a large number of players in the wall, this would leave unmarked players on the opposing team. The potential for the free kick to turn into a quick pass to an open player is there. This is why most teams will limit the amount of players in the wall. However, when a free kick is given anywhere near the net, such as around the border of the penalty box, the wall usually contains a large number of players.
If someone on my team has been fouled and a free kick has been awarded, we want to use that opportunity to score a goal. But with a wall that extends as wide as 5 or more players, it doesn’t seem like it’s much of an opportunity anymore. Don’t forget that the wall never tends to stay still! Players will try to inch their way up to the ball, cutting down the 10 yards, and making it more difficult for the shooter.
What if FIFA limited the number of players in a wall to 3? This rule would apply to both direct and indirect free kicks. A defending team may think twice about taking a player down since the potential for a better goal scoring opportunity is there. This may help limit the number of fouls and allow for continued play. It also has the potential for increased goal scoring.
Do you think limiting the number of players allowed in a wall would increase goal scoring? Please leave your comments below!