When it comes to embracing change, few sports have done quite so much as football. Today, it’s clear to see that the ‘beautiful game’ is far removed from its humble, amateur roots, achieving popularity all over the globe. Rules and venues in particular have been transformed to make the game far more accessible and easy on the eye.
Two rules have had a major impact on the way the game is played at both ends of the pitch. The most well-known is the offside rule, which is almost as old as the game itself. Introduced way back in 1863, the offside rule was intended to make the game fairer on both attack and defence, and has been tinkered with from time to time.
Although not breached too often, the passback rule was pretty big in changing the way in which teams defend draws or narrow leads. Now, goalkeepers can’t collect a ball in the air or collect an airborne throw-in from a teammate, which is making defences think more carefully about how to keep the ball when necessary.
Artificial grass, which has been used increasingly in the past 25 years or so, is now a common sight at grounds across northern Europe. It’s currently being used at the Luzhniki Stadium, the home of Spartak Moscow and the Russia national team. As a spokesperson from Hitechturf.co.uk explained, the quality has improved significantly:
“Technology in artificial grass has come a long way since the late 80’s and artificial grass pitches are now manufactured from polyethylene rather than nylon, this has meant that these new turfs have been approved by FIFA and UEFA”, they said.
No grounds for complaint
Another change which is fairly recent is the advent of all-seated stadiums. A number of accidents involving overcrowding on terraces led to a report which demanded that at some point in the future, all venues in the Football League should be all-seater. Today, the majority of grounds of professional clubs have adhered to that guidance.
Most recently of all, goal-line technology has been brought in to try and help end some of the disputed decisions over whether the ball has crossed the line fully at the start of the current season. It’s being used in the Premier League, and could be rolled out throughout the football pyramid if deemed a success.