I would like to propose an alternative to the current way of resolving knockout matches in Football.

This is an idea I have been talking about for about 10 years with friends and relatives. I finally decided that rather than just talking about it, and complaining about the stupidity of penalties as a way to decide a game, I would get on with trying to get this idea considered as a viable alternative to penalties.

I spent a long time back in 2006 trying to send this proposal through to FIFA, the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh FA’s, Sepp Blatter and various other high ranking people in football, but no one seemed to pay any attention, after a recent discussion on the BBC’s 606 Football show last night (27th May 2012) on Radio 5 Live, I published my original PDF online via twitter, then realised that since I now have this website, it would be much better to publish it here so that people can make comments below…

Just as a little bit of background about Penalties for those “nay sayers” who say its part of the game, please remember that Penalty Kicks as a method for deciding knockout games was introduced in 1966, and were first used in England in 1970.

My proposal would be a much FAIRER system than penalties, where the best team of players should win more often than just the team who is better at penalties, or is “luckier”, it would also me potentially as exciting if not more so, and rewards the team that is better at playing football and not just the team that is better at taking penalties

It is unlikely to take any longer than the current system, although, there is the potential for it to do so and I would suggest its likely to produce a result faster! (There is a timeline summary at the end of the email). It would also mean that the winning team would be looked upon as real heroes who have fought hard for the victory, and the loosing team would also appear to have worked really hard and even heroic in their own way, even in defeat.

Current situation:

  1. Full time ends (90 minutes+injury time)
    • If the score is a draw then
  2. Two 15 minutes of extra time are played
    • If still a draw (120 mins) then:
  3. 5 penalties are taken by each side
    • If still a draw (approx 140 mins) then:
  4. The first team to score an unanswered penalty wins (sudden death)

My Proposal

  1. Full time ends (90 Minutes + injury time)
    • If the score is a draw then:
  2. The Teams Change ends and each coach elects one playerto be taken off* & they play 10 minutes of extra time (normally this will be 10v10**)
    • If the score is a draw (100 mins) then:
  3. The Teams Change ends and each coach elects one more player to be taken off* & they play 10 more minutes of extra time (Normally this will be 9v9**)
    • If the score is a draw (110 mins) then:
  4. The Teams Change ends and each coach elects one more player to be taken off * & they play 10 more minutes of extra time (Normally this will be 8v8 **)

I would normally expect a result before this point (120 mins). If however the score is STILL a draw then you just keep going in the same manner until you get a result, but I really would suggest that by the time you get to 7v7 on a full size pitch, its highly unlikely that each side will still be scoring the same number of goals and thus the standard response of “3v3 on a full size pitch would be silly” but with penalties you already have 1v1!!

*I would propose that If the coach did not choose a player to be taken off whilst the teams are changing ends then the first player to be removed would be the goalkeeper (this makes it very important that the coach provides a number to the 4th official before the end each 10 minutes period). The next player to be removed by the 4th official in the event that the coach does not supply a number would be the player with the lowest number on their back; again this means that the coach will potentially loose his best players first (probably defenders), if he does not comply.

**In the event that anyone has been sent off during the match, e.g. that at the end of fulltime its already 11v10, then the situation would carry on as above, but the first period would be played 10v9 the second period 9v8 and the third would be 8v7. Thus the team who did NOT have a player send off is not disadvantaged by the system, and in fact is probably even better off by the end of the first 3 periods.

A shorter version of this might be achieved by removing TWO players at a time after each interval, if this was done then you could have 15 minute periods.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this proposal, or how I can progress it further so that it actually becomes considered as a viable alternative to the somewhat farcical ending that happens with penalties.

I would also like to propose that yellow cards are dealt with in a similar way to the way it is  one in ice hockey and rugby, where the player is sent off the pitch for a period of time and two yellow cards is as it stands and becomes a red card. This would fit in well with my proposal above, as teams should have practiced and prepared for short handed games.


Option 1
11v11 90 mins played (check result)
10v10** 100 mins played (check result)
9v9** 110 mins played (check result)
8v8** 120 mins played (check result)
7v7** 130 mins played (check result)
6v6** 140 mins played (check result)
5v5** 150 mins played (check result)
4v4** 160 mins played (check result)
3v3** 170 mins played (check result)
2v2** 180 mins played (check result)
1v1** 190 mins played (check result)

Option 2
11v11 90 mins played (check result)
9v9** 105 mins played (check result)
7v7** 120 mins played (check result)
5v5** 135 mins played (check result)
3v3** 150 mins played (check result)
1v1** 165 mins played (check result)