FIFA technical director Marco van Basten has floated a radical blueprint for the future of football which would see offside abolished and sin-bins introduced.
The former World Player of the Year was employed by FIFA in September to oversee all technical areas ranging from innovations in technology to refereeing.
And the Dutchman’s long-term vision for the game includes scrapping some of its most established rules.
Van Basten said in an interview that he proposed to abolish the rules to make the game more honest, more dynamic, more interesting. There are lots of variations which need to be tested in the coming years.
Van Basten says abolishing the offside rule would mean an end to games which resemble handball where nine players, plus the goalkeeper, pack the penalty area and the defence is like a wall.
He argues sin-binning players would prove a greater deterrent than the yellow card system.
That would frighten teams as it is hard to play 10 against 11, let alone with eight or nine, he said.
Among Van Basten’s other ideas is one to replace extra-time and penalties with ice hockey-style shootouts involving players dribbling towards the goalkeeper from 25 metres out.
The 52-year-old also suggested clamping down on time-wasting, stopping any player but the captain from speaking to officials and cutting the number of games in a year.