Millwall - Tuesday 9th March 2010

Well, there have been all kinds of things to talk about since our last home against Gillingham, but with three matches at Brunton Park in seven days now we'll have to save some of them up I think. Let's make a start with our old mate Sepp Blatter though and what he's up to this time, well apparently he's discussing the possible effects of scrapping the offside rule. Although at least I suppose he's moved on from his classic comments in 2004 where he suggested that women should wear tighter shorts.

FIFA President Blatter at the time saying : "Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball, they could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?"

Quality stuff from Sepp there I'm sure you'll agree and not his first great idea. Let's look back on 2006 where he suggested that European football should abandon its normal calendar and play from later February to November, although after the winter we've just had some might start agreeing with him. There would still be football then however as Sepp's idea was to use the winter break for international matches.

Playing football in four quarters instead of two halves was another one, that coming when he was FIFA General Secretary ahead of the 1994 World Cup where he hoped to make the game more appealing to American television networks and their advertising schedules. The development of "soccer" in the United States being at the front of his thoughts in 2004 as well when he was keen to end having draws. Sepp saying : "Every game should have a winner. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football."

Back to the 1990s and he was after bigger goals in 1996 so that we could have more excitement and more efforts hitting the old onion bag. Sepp at that time commenting :

"The guardians of the rules are in agreement to lengthen the goals by the diameter of two balls, around 50cm, and to increase the height by the diameter of one ball." That idea was apparently going to FIFA's international board in March of the following year, but it was another Blatter idea that got binned.

What's he up to with this offside idea now though? Well apparently he has recently been speaking to Leandro Negre, the President of the International Hockey Federation. Hockey having scrapped their offside rule in 1998 in a move that was perceived as having made the game more exciting. Negre revealing to SKY Sports about the discussion between the two : "He asked me a lot of questions about it and how successful it was, although he never offered an opinion, so it was difficult to judge what football might do. But he did seem very interested in how we had implemented it."

Now I've had a look at the old hockey offside rule and to be honest, their final change of it in 1987 looks very similar to the one in football at the moment. An attacker then being offside if they were behind the final defender, with seemingly the only main difference being that offside then only applied to inside the 25 yard area (a quarter of a hockey pitch) whereas the football rule of course applies in half of the pitch.

The apparent reasons for hockey scrapping their offside rule in 1998 being to transfer the balance of power towards the offense, and to create more space around the circle and midfield. And also help the flow of play, with more goals and less whistles, and to make the game more exciting and appealing to spectators. Now on the face of it none of those sound like something to complain about as far as football is concerned.

Football of course is a different game to hockey though and to me it would just mean there being a lot more goalhanging strikers about, which if you've ever seen me "play" you'd think I wouldn't be complaining about. Goalhanging leads to long ball tactics though and you could pretty much just have one of your strikers standing six yards in front of the goalkeeper for 90 minutes, and how are you going to defend that?

The question of course is what is wrong with it at the moment? Well bar the "active/inactive" comedy that we have now, nothing really. Infact the only way I would like to see the rule change is for it to go back to the old one, if you are offside then you are offside, no grey areas then for inconsistent decisions to be made. So let's just make it another Sepp Blatter idea to forget about, after all it won't be long until his next one.

*This match was originally postponed on Saturday 9th January, no programme was ever printed for that matchday