Five major rule changes trialled at “Future of Football” test tournament

Several new rules are currently being trialled at a youth tournament called the Future of Football Cup.

SC Heerenveen, AZ Alkmaar, PSV Eindhoven and Club Brugge’s youth teams are all currently competing at the tournament, with Heerenveen replacing RB Leipzig whose under-23s decide to withdraw after suffering an injury crisis.

The tournament got underway on Thursday, with AZ beating Leipzig 6-0 and PSV beating Brugge 4-3.

ESPN NL, the Dutch branch of ESPN, and Red Bull Netherlands are partners of the tournament, which they say ‘stands for fast and energetic matches’.

The tournament is being used to test out several new rules, with games consisting of two 30-minute halves.

An AZ Alkmaar player takes a kick-in instead of a throw-in against RB Leipzig at the Future of Football Cup

When each half kicks off, the clock starts at 30 and counts down, with the clock also pausing when the ball goes out of play.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez floated the idea of shortening matches earlier this year when explaining why the short-lived European Super League had been created.

Speaking to El Chiringuito, Perez said: “Football has to change and adapt. We have to analyse why young people, 16-to-24-year-olds, 40% of them aren’t interested in football.

“Why? Because there are a lot of low-quality games, and they have other entertainment platforms.

“It’s a reality. They say the games are too long. We have to change something if we want football to stay alive.

“Sometimes we don’t understand our children or grandchildren. They’re different generations, the world changes.

“If young people don’t watch an entire game, it’s because it isn’t interesting enough, or we’ll have to shorten the games … There are matches that even I can’t watch all of them, to be honest.”

There are also unlimited substitutes and yellow cards result in a spell in the sin bin, with players spending five minutes off the field when they get booked.

Kick-ins are also being trialled instead of throw-ins, an idea that former Arsenal boss and FIFA’s current Chief Head of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger is a fan of.

Speaking last year, Wenger told L’Equipe : “I would also like to change the throw-in rule.

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“Five minutes before the end, a throw-in for you should be an advantage, but in these situations you are facing 10 outfield players in play, whilst you only have nine.

“Stats show that in eight out of ten of those throw-in situations, you lose the ball.

“In your half of the pitch, you should have the possibility to take a kick instead.”

Players are also allowed to dribble in free-kicks, rather than having to pass it to a team-mate.

According to Marca, the tournament is viewed as ‘an experiment for FIFA’ and the new rules ‘could later be implemented in professional football’.

Mundo Deportivo also claim that, although FIFA are not directly involved with the tournament, they will ‘evaluate the impact of these changes’ before deciding whether to propose any of them to IFAB, the body that determines the laws of the game.

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