Friday, July 1, 2022

Dutch amateur football to experiment with hockey-style rules

Who said hockey takes second billing to football? In the Netherlands from next year, rules could be implemented which will have more than a passing nod to our beautiful (hockey) game.

The Dutch second division is set to bring in a raft of new changes to throw-ins, yellow cards, free kicks, substitutions and playing time.

For the 2023/24 Keuken Kampioen Divisie, the Dutch federation could experiment with rulings where players can kick the ball in from a throw-in and dribble from a free-kick, both with similar hallmarks to the self-pass rule which has changed hockey.

Meanwhile, there will be unlimited subs, a five-minute sin bin and wwo halfs of 30 minutes, while the clock stops when ball not in play.

For the record, Jan Dirk van der Zee, of the Dutch football federation, outlined:

  1. Throwing in is kicking in

If the ball is over the sideline, you can now shoot or dribble it in. The same applies to the kick-off, a corner kick or goal kick. All actions that take at least fifteen minutes of playing time in a match in the current set-up.

  1. Dribbling on a free kick

On average, almost 11 percent of the playing time per game is lost to taking free kicks. Those interruptions take the speed out of the game, but also feed one of the biggest annoyances for spectators and players: time wasting. This is largely avoided with the self-pass, which allows you to dribble immediately after the ball has been stopped by the ref.

  1. Time penalty

Another major annoyance in football is the hassle of getting yellow and red cards. Where yellow has an image problem, because you now take the first card for granted, because of the lack of a direct consequence. With the 5 minute penalty, that is a thing of the past.

  1. Unlimited Switching

This measure also provides more speed and spectacle, because you can change players without limitation with so-called ‘flying substitutions’, which means that the game is no longer stopped.

  1. Pure playtime

In 2020, an average Champions League match consisted of just under 60 minutes of clean playing time. With these new rules, football matches are shortened to two times 30 minutes.

At the top of the world game, Arsene Wenger’s suggestions in 2022 seem to be making their way up the chain. Now Fifa’s chief of global development, Wenger has wanted self-service free-kicks and kick-ins instead of throw-ins and Fifa are looking at ways to speed up the game and cast aside time-wasting players.

The quick free-kick idea has won admirers, with Gary Lineker saying: “If you want to change something; allow players to take quick free-kicks, even to themselves. Punish those who foul, not those who are fouled. Would speed the game up too.”


  1. About time too, in my opinion…Football has never learned from other team sports. This novel development in the Netherlands might prove to be a focal point in Football’s evolution and it might even increase the existing – pitiful – rates of scoring…an average of THREE goals in 90 minutes is dire. The next thing Football should consider is reviewing VAR, having a ‘third’ referee in a box, who asks the real ref to look at a screen and maybe change his original decision is time-consuming and boring…sometimes wrong. Award the teams with three referrals and allow them to protest a referee’s decision like we do in Hockey. And yes, if the original decision is upheld, the protesting team loses their referral; let’s hope this revolutionary development in Dutch Football has a positive outcome.

  2. Why only a 5 minute suspension? Currently 5 yellows in the first 19 games of the season is a 1 match ban so why not 18 minutes? Ten minutes would probably be a reasonable compromise.
    With 5 minute yellows would referees be quicker to temporarily suspend players or more reluctant?? Would it be a “minimum of 5 minutes” or at the referees discretion. In essence an excellent idea.


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