Proposed kick-in rule will have huge ramifications for football at all levels

Referee Peter Quinn at the Stadium of Light

FIFA’s Chief Head of Global Football Development, Arsene Wenger, has brought forward the idea that football may scrap throw ins for kick ins in a potentially radical new rule change.

Former Arsenal boss, Wenger, has said that throw ins could be changed so that when the ball goes out of play in the latter stages of the game, a team can kick the ball rather than throw it.

SR News spoke with Level 5 referee Peter Quinn about the proposed new rules, and he can see the arguments from both sides.

He said: “You have free kicks which are set plays, if you turn a throw in to a kick in then you are giving a team another set piece essentially. 

“A kick in would just be an extension of a free kick whereas a throw in doesn’t give a team that big of an advantage.”

He added: “I do understand though where the authorities are coming from though as it will create more chances and therefore more goals. 

“For the players, they will probably like it as it gives them more opportunities to score. 

“For referees it won’t make a difference as it is still a decision to be made. But as a fan, I would want to stick with a throw in because I feel that free kicks are there to be won and shouldn’t just be given because the ball goes out of play.”

Ouston Cherry Trees manager Zack Scott believes that the football authorities are tinkering with the game for tinkering’s sake.

He said: “As far as I am concerned, the purpose of the throw in is just to get the ball back into play quickly. 

“A kick in would make it a free kick which would have huge ramifications. I think it would change the game a lot as managers would play for kick ins as they are basically free kicks. 

“It sounds like a small change, but the reality is that the ramifications would be huge as any kick in in the attacking half would be a dangerous free kick.”

Notably, football has seen a change to the hand ball rule and Quinn believes that it has made a referees job much harder.

He said: “The hand ball has really complicated things because people are watching the professional games and seeing the new rule. 

“As a referee at grassroots levels it is hard because there are no cameras, no VAR so it is difficult to determine whether a hand ball has happened or not.”

He added: “It has really complicated things for referees. It is too difficult for a referee at times because we need to be consistent and with handballs it comes down to interpretation. But that is becoming harder due to the recent rule changes.”

A wider problem in football has been the consistent changes to the laws every season.

Managers, referees and players have all felt the wrath of these changes, and sometimes there can be 10s of law changes every season.

Scott believes that sometimes, the law makers just want to make changes because they can.

He said: “I think that there are too many rule changes happening at the moment and it really feels like they are enforcing changes that aren’t really needed. 

“I spoke to a colleague last week about this. The kick off has changed, now you don’t have to kick it forward you can go backwards. Why change the rule? What is the point?”

However, Quinn can see the benefit of the rule changes as they are helping the game to evolve. The issue though, is that there is a balance to be struck between improving the game and just changing the game.

He said: “I think that the game of football can still evolve for the better. The key is to keep the game flowing – a recent change is the substitution rule where the player can walk off at the nearest point which stops time wasting. 

“But there are a lot of rules that are tinkering for tinkering’s sake. The game has changed a lot and the rules need to change with it, but I think sometimes they are introducing 10s of laws every summer which makes it hard for a referee and players.”

What do you make of these proposed new rule changes?

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