But there are always methods that could be explored that could make Premier League football faster and an even more entertaining watch if they were applied to the 2022/23 season.
Keep an Eye on the Clock
Football remains the only sport where match time is not fixed.
Sure, we are told that the game is two halves of 45 minutes but that means that time added for stoppages is discretionary and leads to many things that can frustrate spectators which could be eradicated at a stroke.
It would be ridiculous to stop the watch every time the ball went out for a throw-in or a goal kick, but it would make sense for injury stoppages.
There would then be no point in a player feigning a problem to cause a delay or the ridiculous addition of substitutes in the closing stages just in an attempt to waste a few seconds.
Taking the responsibility of timekeeping away from the referee and giving it to another official would mean managers and players can concentrate on more important things, like trying to score a goal.
It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right
Rule changes should have two primary functions – to make games a more interesting spectacle and to help the officials do an even better job.
The shortage of referees is a problem throughout the grassroots level of football, but the fitness demands on officials means the Premier League would benefit if there were two arbiters, one in each half of the pitch.
They do a great job in keeping up with play now the game has become so fast, but having a colleague to take charge in the opposite half of the pitch would take some of the pressure off and would also provide a valuable second opinion which would be easy to consult.
The Benefits of Cutting Corners
The receipt of a corner is always greeted with a cheer of anticipation, which is puzzling because so rarely do they lead to anything other than the ball being headed away by the first defender.
At some grounds – the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium springs to mind – the flag-kicker needs to make a significant climb to take the corner, so it is no surprise that the delivery is often duff.
So, let’s move the ball five yards in from the flag along the line in either direction to allow the taker to either get closer to the goal and make the cutback to the edge of the box more attractive, or allow him to move back along the touchline to change the angle.
At least we might get a bit of variety.
An Appealing Prospect
Love it or hate it, VAR is here to stay, but there is one way the system could be developed.
In American football, both teams have the chance to appeal for video evidence to be applied in certain circumstances and it is the same in cricket, where once the appeals have gone, that’s it.
NFL coaches know that they will lose a valuable timeout if their request is unsuccessful, so let’s let Jurgen Klopp and the like put their money where their mouth is.
They could lose a substitution opportunity if the evidence does not match their assessment and forego an appeal if they had already used the replacement.
Wall Delays Need to End
Premier League football can be a fast-moving spectacle but one occasion when it grinds to a halt is when a free-kick is awarded in a dangerous area.
Sometimes, it takes the best part of 90 seconds for everyone to get into position and it seems ridiculous that the team who have committed the offence are then given as much time as they like to get their defensive affairs in order.
This time could be rapidly reduced if the defensive team were allowed to position just three players in a wall, which would also give the attacking team an advantage, and we are all for that, aren’t we?