Why we need harsher penalties for time wasting in football

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Delaying the restart of play has always been a cautionable offence, so why are people suddenly applauding time-wasting in the world’s greatest game?

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Wasting time in football has become more and more prominent over the years.

Players are managing to bend the rules to the point where most teams will use it as a practiced strategy in order to stay in front during tight matches.

We are at a point where the act of wasting time is being supported by fans, and coaches will outrightly implement it as a part of their game plan. It has even been recently referred to as a sophisticated art form, where players will often congratulate their opposition for their cleverness.

But how can you consider a straight up cop-out to be clever?

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A strange new mentality

During a recent A-League Men clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, the Sydney fans became outraged by their opponent’s goalkeeper when he decided to hold onto the ball. Water bottles and other various items were tossed onto the pitch in frustration. But when the Sydney coach was asked about how he felt about the whole situation, Steve Corica said that Victory was simply slowing the game down and that “they did it quite well”.

This seems to be becoming a common mentality amongst the footballing community, the fact that wasting time is something that can be well executed. Apparently it is no longer seen as an offence, but as a strategy.

But it is simply not the way to win a game.

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The forgotten purpose of the game

One of the biggest frustrations in football is when the teams are avoiding actually playing the game.

Faking injuries, starting up unnecessary conflict, taking forever to tee-up a goal kick that ends up going nowhere… it’s all far too common. What ever happened to facing up to your opponent and actually trying to score more goals?

The entire objective of football is to advance into the other team’s half. There’s no advancing happening when the ball is being dinked around the backline, or when the entire stadium is sitting there watching the keeper put on the performance of their life diving and rolling around on the ground for a ball that had already stopped at their feet.

How are we not getting second-hand embarrassment from this?

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The future of football

If lazy strategies like time-wasting start to become the norm, then we’re going to forget what football is all about.

It’s time for players to go back to the roots of the game and actually play it out how it’s meant to be. Otherwise, we might be in for a basketball-style stopwatch.

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Feature image credit: West Wyalong Wombats 

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Neve McGavock
Neve McGavockhttps://everneve.com/
Studying a Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. Covering Sydney FC for the 2022/23 season.

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