x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

More substitutions and timeouts among managers’ bright ideas

Coaches embrace idea of more stoppages in play

Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola, left, says he wants the ability to make more than three substitutions per match. Mohammed Omar / Reuters
Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola, left, says he wants the ability to make more than three substitutions per match. Mohammed Omar / Reuters

DUBAI // The game of football is constantly evolving. Next summer, a vanishing spray that designates the wall distance at free kicks will be used to mark the grass at the World Cup, as will, for the first time, goal-line technology.

Yet, this weekend, three of the sport’s most respected managers suggested two amendments to the rule book that were slightly more radical.

Pep Guardiola, speaking at the annual Globe Soccer Conference, said he would like the ability to make more than three substitutions during a match, while Fabio Capello and Antonio Conte both called for the introduction of timeouts similar to those in North American sports.

Neither suggestion will be implemented soon, but the opinions of coaches with such credibility tend to fall on more than deaf ears. Guardiola said giving coaches the capacity to influence games through increased mid-match changes could improve the quality of football.

“As a coach, I would like to be able to use more players from the bench to allow me to maybe manage the team in a better way; to take more opportunities or chances,” the Bayern Munich coach said. “It would be nice. The benefit would be that players would be less tired.”

Capello, winner of seven league titles in Italy and Spain, said the introduction of short timeouts would help coaches explain strategic ideas mid-match, as well as allow players to rehydrate.

“During the game, it is difficult to convey a tactical change or a message to a player,” said Capello, who as coach of the Russian national team requires a translator to communicate with players. “Timeouts would help with this problem.”

At next summer’s World Cup, a one-minute break will be allowed during matches played in extreme temperatures.

“This is not wasted time,” Capello said. “It is precious because it helps keep the players fresh, which makes for more entertaining games.”

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae