Matt’s Monologue: van Basten’s own goal

Marco van Basten appears to be trying to undo his reputation as one of the footballing Gods.

Once a star for Holland, and scorer of that stunning goal against the USSR at Euro 1988, the Ajax legend was appointed as FIFA’s Chief Officer for Technical Development in September 2016.

Most people probably did not know he had the role, I certainly didn’t. That is until he announced a string of whacky ideas intended to take the game to the next level.

To be fair, it is within his job remit. The 52-year old is supposed to look at how technology could be used within football, or what technical areas could be improved.

And his blueprint for the future includes scrapping the offside rule, ice-hockey style penalty shoot-outs (Where a player has a time limit and runs with the ball before trying to score) and limiting the number of fouls an individual can make per game.

It looks like he wants to Americanise the sport as well, by having four quarters instead of two halves.

The first reason this is ridiculous is that 90 does not divide equally into four. Is van Basten seriously suggesting that each segment of a game lasts for 22 and a half minutes? Surely not!

Secondly, though, games last long enough as it is. If there is a particularly bad injury or a sending off, added time can push the fixture beyond 100 minute mark.

Is that what the fans want? Extending the game? Imagine being at Braintree on a cold Tuesday night but having to endure an extra two breaks!

Naturally, van Basten is of a different opinion. “We want to have a game which is dynamic,” he said. “The coach can have three times with his players during the game.”

Well I suppose at least that would have been a good thing for the company supplying John Aldridge’s teacups. Demand would have increased significantly.

Call me cynical, but this just looks like a way of being able to advertise more during a match and therefore make more money.

Another idea he has had which is all fine in theory is to limit players to just 60 matches per season.

But what, for example, if that happens to someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, a star for club and country.

He helps Real Madrid do really well in the league and cup competitions, and plays for Portugal too.

If they reach the World Cup final, are you telling me they would not be allowed to pick him because the last four match was his 60th of the campaign? Not a chance.

In fairness, I am being a bit harsh to van Basten.

He has come up with a couple of ideas which may well be for the better of the game, such as introducing a sin-bin.

This is something that has been discussed for sometime, such has been its success in Rugby Union and Rugby League.

The thought behind this is that it would be more of a deterrent to a player before they made a cynical or pointless tackle if they knew they it would result in a temporary sending off.

But for each proposal which makes you think, there are several others which can be cast aside without even a second glance.


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