Football and innovation tend to go hand in hand. Without technology, it’s fair to say that the sport would look very different to what is played out in stadia and on TV screens worldwide. Technology and a series of rules introduced through time have changed the sport to what it is today – here are five such innovations which have transformed the sport for better or worse:
The offside rule
Almost as old as the game itself, the offside rule has caused controversy over the decades, and has been amended in order to find the right balance, most recently in 2005. The rule forbids a player to go for a ball while ahead of all the opposing players on the pitch, and has helped to make the game a little fairer.
The backpass rule
Similarly confusing to some within the game, the backpass rule was only created in 1962. It has helped to stamp out cheating by defenders and goalkeepers to some degree, consigning tactics such as the infamous Catenaccio to history. How it works is that ‘keepers cannot collect a ball directly from an airborne pass or throw-in from a teammate.
Artificial surfaces have moved on a great deal since first used a few decades ago. They’re now in use in colder countries where matches sometimes get abandoned such as Russia. A spokesperson from Hitechturf.co.uk explained why:
“Technology in artificial grass has come a long way since the late 80’s and artificial grass pitches are now manufactured from polyethylene rather than nylon, this has meant that these new turfs have been approved by FIFA and UEFA.”
Introduced at the start of the current football season after years of wrangling, this technology is designed to put an end to poor refereeing decisions over whether the ball crossed the line into the net or not. If it works, it could help to bring yet more fairness into the game, which is never a bad thing.
Following a report into stadium safety, the advent of all-seater stadia began in the early 1990’s. While there are several lower-league and non-league clubs that still have terracing, most teams now only have seats in their stands. Safety and family-friendliness are two major consequences of this move.