BBC News –12 July 2010
In a very rare and first time event, the International Football Association Board held an emergency meeting after the conclusion of Sunday’s World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands. Chairman Roger Burden of the FA said, “After that debacle last night, we had to save face. The entire world wanted both Spain and Holland to piss off. We had to do something, otherwise nobody would ever want to watch football again.”
BBC Sport anchor Gary Lineker had this to say about the future of international football: “People love watching football because it’s a sport that is kept very professional and well organized the majority of the time. The two best teams in the world should behave as if the Queen herself were playing keeper. Over the course of the last three World Cups, we’ve seen a consistent decrease in viewers. People are saying that football is ‘boring’ and that ‘the only time they pay attention is during replays of a goal or mass confrontations’. Of 4,982 viewers queried, 2,716 said that they’d rather watch the highlight reel than the game itself. To keep professional football from going the way of cricket, something needs to be done to keep fans entertained but be within the rules.”
Something indeed was done. A unanimous decision was reached to amend several laws. In summary, the winner of a tied or scoreless game after regulation time is to be decided by a duel between team captains. The nature of the duel is at the discretion of the referee. An alternate captain is also permitted to substitute for the team captain in the event that he is injured, sent out, or incapable of participating. Recommended duels include fencing, rock paper scissors, boxing, Russian taser roulette, Jenga, and synchronized swimming. “Football is all about contests. To keep fans interested, we need more variety of contests.” said Burden. Other changes included casual Fridays for referees and the allowance of celebrity referees. The offsides law has also been altered by allowing the audience to vote, similar to the American game show “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”.
“We’re really excited about these changes,” said deputy chairman Michel Plantini of France. “People want to see more Zidanes and Beckhams out there.”
Some of the league head coaches were slightly bothered by the changes. “So now in addition to the rigorous training they already have to do, we have to train the team captain and the alternate in sword fighting, synchronized swimming, and Jenga?” asked a flabbergasted Óscar Tabárez, head coach of the Uruguay national football team. Other coaches were impressed with the new decision. “Most of our players grew up fighting their brothers with sticks and of course, they all know how to throw a good punch,” claimed Germany’s head coach Joachim Löw. “Philip Lahm may look like a nice kid, but he can play Jenga like no other. We’ll have to make Schweinsteiger our alternate captain though if it comes down to fencing or boxing.”
With any luck, football will receive a huge popularity boost after people see the outcome of this. While the game itself remains unchanged, fans will stick around if they know that an exciting duel will determine a tie game.
Simon Cowell confirmed that he would be a celebrity referee for the Arsenal’s first regular season game against Liverpool on August 15th. Susan Boyle was unavailable for comment when rumours of her being a celebrity referee arose.