Regular indoor football, sport and other activity for working adults in Singapore

Playing Styles And Foul Play

Posted by rajiv on 29 January 2009

Apart from footballing abilities, we may have different styles of play.

For example, some of us prefer to play the pretty stuff – flicks, pull backs, lay offs, jinking runs and all the clever stuff – while others prefer a more direct, physical, all action style.

Most of us probably fall somewhere in between.

For those who play a more physical style, the pretty style may seem individualistic, self-indulgent, selfish, inefficient or detracting from a team effort.   For those who play the pretty stuff, the physical style may seem too rough, bordering on foul play.

Like I said recently, there has to be a lot of give and take.    We can’t expect that everyone will play the way that we want to play, and we have to accept that there are others who play a different way.

Sometimes, it comes down to what we see as being within or outside of the rules of the games.

For example, there was a bit of a joke between Rajseran and Franco in early December 2008 about Rajseran keeping his hands off Franco.

I later learnt it stemmed from the session on 2 December 2008, during which Rajseran held out his hands to fend off Franco during the game.  Franco took objection to Rajseran touching him with his hands, as he felt it amounted to foul play.

I suppose in the old days, coaches used to tell players not to put their hands against their opponent as a referee might blow for pushing.   However, nowadays, we see it frequently in the professional game, especially in the Premier League, where players put their hands up against their opponent, especially when their opponent has their back to them or is not moving at pace, in order to be able to follow the player while keeping their eye on the ball.  Referees don’t blow for a foul unless their is a shove, an elbow, or tugging of the opponent’s shirt.

Likewise, in the old days, shoulder or body charges were seen as legitimate.  A famous example is in the 1957 FA Cup Final (at 44 secs).   The goalkeeper is stretchered off, but the referee doesn’t even call it a foul.  Today, the striker would have been booked, if not sent off.

I captured a shoulder charge in last Thursday’s session on video.  It was not deemed as reckless or dangerous, and the game carried on without a foul being called.

I am not concerned about technical rules in FIOFAFI.  My main aim is to clamp down on any reckless or intentional play that risks taking out an opponent.  The only distinction I draw is between, on the one hand, honest and reasonable effort to win the ball and play the game, and, on the other hand, reckless or intentional conduct that risks injuring an opponent, or conduct that risks being construed as unsporting.

I have so far identified some basic rules we play to:

We really don’t need much more than that in terms of rules.

If there is a clear foul, call it.  Apart from the above, the game should be allowed to flow.  Calling fouls for other perceived wrongs is FAFI, not FIOFAFI.  🙂

Only the players involved in the challenge or playing the ball should make the call at first instance.  If one player calls a foul, but the other player disagrees, the game continues, unless there is a consensus between players on both sides that it was a foul.  Likewise, when the ball goes behind the goal line – unless there is  a consensus that it is a corner, it will be a goal kick.

Acrimonious verbal exchanges with an opponent is not condoned.  If you have nothing nice to say to an opponent, don’t say anything at all.  Acrimonious verbal exchanges with team-mates is plain stupid.  We’d all be better off putting our vocal efforts into encouraging and organising our team in a positive fashion.

Like I said recently, if you think that certain actions by a player are not in keeping with our objectives, you can say, “don’t do this” (“Please don’t do this” would be better).  The other person is of course entitled to disagree with you that he has done anything which is not allowed. If any difference of opinion cannot be resolved at the session itself, we can try to resolve it on the blog.  We should be capable of sorting out differences in an adult manner.  In any event, it should not hold up the game.

I expect all FIOFAFI games to be played with maturity, with a lot of give and take, and with good humour, and without letting any frustrations as to the performance of ourselves or our team, the physical aspects of the game, or the scoreline, get the better of us.

Our sessions are far more enjoyable and fruitful if we play with the right attitude and in good spirits.

13 Responses to “Playing Styles And Foul Play”

  1. rajiv said

    We have a few regulars whose all-action style of play is perceived as overly physical by some of the other regulars.

    In this respect, my primary concern is that we avoid unnecessary injuries, both to the player whose style it is to play that way, and to his opponents. Apart from that, we each play to the style that suits us.

    Like I’ve said more than once recently, there has to be a lot of give and take. Calling a foul merely because you don’t like the way your opponent challenged you for the ball, or arguing with your opponents, isn’t for FIOFAFI.

    On the other hand, we can afford to cut out over-zealous tackling.

    Further, as Nick said recently in respect of an all-action style of play, “running around like a dog with rabies” isn’t necessarily good for you. At the same session, Gilbert referred to it as playing like a “headless chicken”.

    A physical game may suit some of us, but our sessions provide us with an opportunity to develop other aspects of our game.

    As the aim is sustainability, it is useful to develop other aspects of the game, rather than incur the toll on our bodies that a more physical game entails.

    I’m not suggesting that anyone who plays a more physical game give up on it. I am suggesting that sometimes, it is worth slowing it down or easing it up at least a bit in order to focus on, and work on, other aspects of your game.

    Our regular sessions should be seen as such opportunity, and not just about winning or losing.

  2. […] Playing Styles And Foul Play […]

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  9. rajiv said

    If one player calls a foul, but the other player disagrees, the game continues, unless there is a consensus between players on both sides that it was a foul.

    If a player calls a foul, play it back to one of the goalkeepers until it is agreed that is is a foul. If it is disputed, the game continues from the goalkeeper who has possession of the ball. If necessary, the dispute can be resolved later on the blog. Don’t just leave the ball for the opposing side and stop playing.

    At yesterday’s game, a Reds player called a foul. A couple of Blacks’ players left the ball. Other Reds’ players continued with the game and scored.

    You can taking “sporting” behaviour too far.

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