Solving soccer tiebreakers in a television-friendly fashion; never be disappointed by a 0-0 game again

by worstideas

The issue:

Soccer matches have a very high probability of ending in a draw.

In the few cases in which a draw is not allowed as a final outcome of a match, the game will (eventually) go to a one-on-one penalty kick shootout.

This method of resolution uses a very different skill set from the main game, and is one-on-one rather than being a team game.

Taken to the extreme, one could resolve a tie by just flipping a coin, or perhaps choosing two players to face off in a game of checkers or other unrelated game.

 

Hypothesis:

However, it might be more satisfying for spectators if a match could be resolved using a team-play-based method.

A few creative proposals have been suggested, for example:

  • Removing two players (one from each team) every N minutes
  • Removing the goalies entirely
  • No longer calling fouls, resulting in a Roman-gladiation-style game

 

Here we have a few additional proposals:

1) “Multi-ball” (inspired by pinball). Every 10 minutes, an additional ball is added to the field. The off-sides rule is temporarily suspended.

 soccer-default

Fig 1: The “multiball” method is played on the standard field.

2) Goal distance reduction: every 5 minutes, both goals are moved 10 feet closer to the center line. Field markings remain unchanged, and play remains the same otherwise. The corner kick would presumably require some modification.

soccer-move-goals-in

Fig 2: The goals, represented in red, are moved inward periodically, until the tie is broken.

 

3) “Multi-field”: the field is split into four smaller fields, and each team is allowed to assign 4 players per mini-field. The game could continue for a fixed period of time, or be “sudden death” depending on how much time is considered acceptable for the tiebreaker.

soccer-4x

Fig 3: The “multi-field” method in action. Perhaps barriers between the fields could prevent the games from interfering with each other? Or maybe that would be part of the game.

PROS: Would definitely make tie matches much more bizarre and interesting. Prevents important games from being determined by the penalty shootout.

CONS: May require significant persuasion to convince fans! Purists would undoubtedly be disappointed.

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