Having watched a few penalty shootouts at the recent Euro tournament, and having heard the same arguments for and against such a method of deciding who goes through to the next round, I have a few suggestions for alternatives which could be employed for that purpose, while still retaining a sense of the drama and spirit of football which we all know and love.
- Ball slap: The first item on my list might be one of the most controversial (that is, if I had enough of a following to be able to generate controversy). The idea is, after full time, you place the ball in the centre circle, and the players take their positions. The referee then slaps each player in the balls with force, moving from the goalkeeper, through defenders, midfielders, and then strikers. Once each player has been slapped, play begins. If, after ten minutes, the scores are still level, the procedure is repeated. If at any time, more than two players from the same team refuse to participate, that team automatically loses the game.
- Regular remove: This idea is more sensible than the first, but maybe less fun to watch. Extra time starts, and after five minutes a player from each team is nominated by the manager of the opposite team, to be removed from the field. This continues every five minutes until someone scores.
- Coin flip remove: similar to the idea in number two, this involves removing players from the field. The difference is that the referee would flip a coin every five minutes, with heads corresponding to one team and tails to the other. Whichever way the coin lands, the manager of that team nominates one player to be removed from the field. This continues until someone scores.
- Keepy-upy: Each manager chooses five players to play keepy-upy. The winning team is the one whose team member has the most touches. In the event of a tie, the two players who are tied face off until one wins.
- Call it a draw (final only): If neither team has insufficient motivation or skill to win a final, the trophy is cut in half, and they each get half a winner’s medal. The record books will forever record their efforts as ‘pretty good, I guess.’
- Soccer AM crossbar challenge: If you haven’t seen it, the crossbar challenge from the TV show Soccer AM is exactly what it sounds like. The ball is placed in the centre circle, and each player attempts to kick the ball so that it hits the bar. The first five players make an attempt, and if the scores are tied after this, the rest of the team go, with first player to succeed winning the game for their team.
- Fans join in: In this scenario, fans are drawn at random from the crowd, and replace the players on the pitch, in a manner similar to that of the regular remove. This continues until all the players have been replaced with fans, or until someone scores.
- Manager challenge: The managers of the teams take the field, one on each goal line. The referee places the ball in the centre circle and blows the whistle. The first manager to score, wins the game for their team.
- Yo mamma fight: Zinedine Zidane is brought on to the field. The players line up and each get to insult his mother or sister once. The winning team is the first one whose player gets Zidane to head butt them.
Ok, so these are some of my ideas for alternatives to penalties. Feel free to let me know what you think, or suggest your own. Kia kaha.