Football is boring, at least it can be. Some people find it boring because there are not any big hits or massive points tallies, that’s never going to change. People get injured enough playing football without being more lenient on shoulder to shoulder challenges. That’s something that in my opinion we cannot change. What we can change is the amount of time wasted through stoppages. The stoppages in football are goal kicks, free kicks, corner kicks, penalties, substitutions, injuries and to a lesser extent throw ins.
I am just going to rule out a few things first, the timer would not be applicable for injuries. Player welfare should be one of, if not the top priority when considering any rule changes. All injuries require special care and attention. It would be very negligent to cap the amount of time an injured player received treatment for especially for a serious injury.
I am also not talking about a shot clock rule. A shot clock is something that happens in basketball where when the team in possession has the ball, they only have a certain amount of time to get a shot off otherwise it’s the other team’s ball. This would be very hard to police in football, not only that. But the field in football is approximately 8 times larger than a basketball court and would see teams simply retreat to their own box and form a low block in order to play out the clock. So, the shot clock would have to be 3 minutes to be adjusted. I think if this were to occur, we would see a lot of teams revert to just sending the ball long and playing in crosses constantly. This becomes boring and predictable. Especially towards the end of a three-minute spell. Teams would know that time was running out and would set up to defend either long balls, long shots or crosses into the box.
I am talking about a timer like we see in rugby league where kickers have a certain amount of time take a conversion, scrum or dropout. Teams have 30 seconds to take a dropout, 1 minute 30 seconds for conversions and 35 seconds to pack a scrum. This has seen an additional 3 minutes of actual playing time per game. But can it work for football?