Last month we talked about the addition of timeouts and what that might look like for football, leaving you with some initial thoughts on the idea but leaving it largely up for interpretation. Today we are going to look at the main points from the book – break for tired players and opportunity for team talks – and a few more hidden benefits timeouts would provide the game.

Hydration Breaks

Timeouts would give managers a chance to give players a break when needed. Part of the focus of the New Generation Fan rules is giving the players the chance to play at their best for as much of the game as possible. During hot weather matches FIFA and other governing bodies have implemented hydration breaks for players to get some water. These breaks are in essence a forced timeout. Instead of doing this, it would be better to give power to the teams themselves to decide when they need a break. Temperature is not the only factor that exhausts players, yet the current rules only allow for breaks because of heat.

Team Talks

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that timeouts will give managers an opportunity to talk to their team to make strategic changes. When a team cannot break down a stout defence, a m

ArtBrom, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

anager could take a moment to discuss options with their team. This will lead to a more dynamic attack, and exciting games for the fans. Likewise, a team defending a lead or a draw, exhausted from chasing a dominant opponent, might be able to catch their breath and devise a way to go forward for the winner or continue to deny their opponents.

There are endless benefits from the strategic point of view, but here are a few more of the most obvious we came up with: designing set pieces, adjusting after a red card, calming down a panicked team, or just adjusting shape to take advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses.

What other strategic considerations do you think managers could make mid game, let us know in the comments!

Other Benefits

Currently when a manager needs a team talk during a half there is no option within the rules to do so. Often, what happens is a player will fake an injury. This gives their manager an opportunity to give instructions, for players to get a break, and to waste time. Giving coaches a chance to take timeouts would eliminate the need for players to do this, which is one of the things that turns off new fans to the game.

Secondly, we are seeing some great strides made when it comes to concussion protocol in many leagues and competitions, but the addition of timeouts could act as another way to ensure injured players are properly treated. There are many times when a team is unsure whether a player will recover from an injury, so they are forced to substitute them to avoid playing a man down. If teams had timeouts, they could stop play for a short period to treat the player without being penalized by playing a player down.


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