Mind maps litter desks, stale cups of coffee build a miniature sky-line and sweat diffuses the office as modern-day geniuses draw up new ideas for the 2017/18 Premier League. All those coloured pencils, Number One Dad/Mum mugs and abhorrent lack of deodorant was worth it though, folks, as these enviably clever people have produced imaginative and progressive rules for the new season.
No more pitch designs
‘What’s with these bloody pitch designs?’
‘They’re a bit of fun, chief’
‘Get rid of them. Frivolous fancies they are, and nothing more’
Well, that was this writer’s imagination, but you get the message. The F.A. has stamped out any pitch designs that deviate from UEFA guidelines (because falling in line with Europea regulations has always endeared the British public, ahem, Brexit), which means no more eye-catching and striking layouts from the likes of Leicester City anymore. Instead, the Foxes will have to find another distraction to coat over the tedious football being played out at the King Power (oops).
Whoever wrote up the marketing spiel that accompanies Nike’s new ‘Ordem V’ ball must really, really love planes.
“Micro-casing textures delivers accurate flight”; “Six-wing carbon latex bladder”; “aerowatrac grooves”; “for true flight”.
Aside from this sensationally hyperbolic description, the ball itself is quite plain. Nike has been producing the Premier League ball for quite a time now and their creativity is pitifully dwindling. Stop paying marketing gurus to excrete nonsense and pay designers to create a genuinely nice football.
Bans for diving
If a player is suspected of diving to achieve a game-altering result – a red card or penalty – said player’s dive will be independently reviewed by a panel of three. If the decision is unanimous, then the player will be slapped with a two-match ban – this is a sensible move from the Premier League and something that the league has been crying out for ever since the introduction of diving.
The panel of three is rumoured to include an ex-professional footballer, to provide insight that one who has not played the game cannot perceive because that really works well with T.V. punditry. Let’s just hope this ex-footballer is not Thierry Henry, who might well be handing out 10s and 9s for the quality of the dive, rather than a ban. Sorry, Thierry.
Premier League shirts will now be adorned with a ubiquitous typography (the font for the names and numbers are changing) to give a “modern and vibrant design which aligns with the Premier League’s visual identity”. You can have this one, Premier League, there is nothing which would add any more amusement, your reasoning provides adequate mirth.
VAR in the F.A. Cup
It did not particularly work in the Confederations Cup, so naturally, the F.A. decided it wanted to try it out. From the third round onwards, referees will be a given the opportunity for a video referral. This implementation of new technology will get the old boys weeping: ‘the last bastion of footballing tradition has been tainted by technology. Oh, why can’t we return to the good old days of kicking lumps out of each other?’.
The jury is very much out on VAR and the F.A. Cup will shine a harsh light on any faults and weaknesses.
Plenty to look forward to then.