FIFA football

FIFA Orange Cards Are Excuse, Not Solution

7:46 PMAleks Vee

by Aleks V

Before you touch that rulebook...

When you have yellow and red, do you really need orange? You can ask that question to an artist. Or you can ask FIFA presidential hopeful Jerome Champagne, who spurred a giant debate on introducing orange cards to football for infractions that would deserve more than a yellow, but less than a sending-off. Orange cards would confine players to a "sin-bin", akin to a penalty in hockey - the offending player would sit out of the game for a certain interval of time.

But football isn't hockey.

If you keep changing the rules, are you improving the sport, or creating a new one? The same question gets asked when goal-line technology and other unconventional additions enter the field. There's logical reasoning behind GLT, though: we've seen some questionable goals over the years, and no matter how good your eyesight is, it's not always easy to tell whether the ball crossed the line.

Challenges are easier to spot, especially when there is more than one referee on the pitch. Law 6 of the Laws of the Game gives the assistant referees the right to advise the head official on any infractions that he may not have seen. When it comes to fouls, three sets of eyes, two kinds of cards and verbal reprimands is more than enough.

For many, changing the basic rules of the game would be like changing the U.S. Constitution. Regardless of the good intent, most will be against it, or for a more gradual, well thought-out change. People are reluctant to see the law amended because of the need to feel united under a common set of timeless principles. Legality and morality don't always intersect, but one thing they have in common is the desire for stability and consensus. Seeing the law as malleable would disturb that stability, causing many to question whether there is such a thing as justice at all, and that never leads to any good. If good even exists.

Trying to find the middle ground for punishment on the pitch sounds positive at first, but there may be a good reason change is slow. Sometimes the best way to avoid solving problems is to add more pages to the rulebook. Here's another thought: Instead of trying to change the rules, train referees to better enforce them. If they can't master already-existing principles, who's to say new rules would guarantee fairer decisions? Before we introduce anything new, let's talk about improving what we already have.

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