Football, like many other sports with global appeal, has undergone almost constant changes throughout its history. Some of those changes have helped to revolutionise the sport, but what were they?
Here, we pick five rules and innovations which have left their mark on football, shaping it into the sport we all know and love today:
The offside rule
One of the oldest surviving rules in the game, it was initially brought in to try and stop players from being able to stay in the opponents’ half for the entire game. The finer points of the offside rule are still not completely understood by some in the game, although future amendments can’t be ruled out.
The backpass rule
Rarely breached since its inception in the early 1960’s, it has made a big impact on the way in which teams defend, making ultra-negative tactics designed to eke out a scoreless draw harder to devise. Not allowing goalkeepers to catch the ball from a volley or throw-in from a teammate makes them think too.
Now being used for playing surfaces in colder countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Sweden where they find using an ordinary grass pitch impossible due to maintenance issues, it wasn’t all that popular when it first rose to prominence a few decades ago, though things have changed.
A spokesperson from Hitechturf.co.uk reported: “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.”
It’s hard to find a stadium of a top-flight team in most countries in Europe and the Far East that isn’t entirely covered by seating these days. All-seater grounds slowly became the norm during the 1990’s after safety concerns about overcrowding on old-style terraces forced the football authorities into action, helping to make modern ground safer and more comfortable.
Despite the technology being readily available to make it happen, it wasn’t introduced until this season, and only by the English Premier League. Nevertheless, it could be rolled out at all levels of the game if it proves to be a success in clearly determining whether balls have or haven’t crossed the line into the net.