Three Dumb Soccer Rules That Don’t Make Any Sense, From a Basketball and Football Fan

The 2014 World Cup has been great so far, with many games closely matched and a number of thrilling goals.

In the past I’ve found football and basketball much more interesting to follow and watch, but despite not watching games before the tournament or following the sport, it looks like I’ll be following soccer in the future. I’m interested now.

But I can’t stop thinking about some of the dumb rules in the game that seem to make no sense.

1. Red Card Means a Team is Down a Man the Rest of the Game

This kind of rule doesn’t have an equivalent in football or basketball, probably because it’s very odd. Getting a red card makes sense–a player should be penalized for committing fouls. But handicapping that player’s team so severely for the rest of the game? I’m trying to think of an NBA game that turns into a 4-on-5 after someone fouls out, or an NFL game that’s 10-on-11 after a rough personal foul. Nope.

2. Red Card or Two Yellows Means Ejection From Future Game

This has happened a couple times in this World Cup already, including to Netherlands star Robin van Persie and Italy standout Mario Balotelli. If a player gets a red card, or two yellow cards in subsequent games, then they’re not only booted from the current game but the next game as well. This rule would make sense if it were based on the severity of the foul(s) and not automatic.

3. Teams Are Limited to Three Substitutions Per Game

The whole rolling time thing in soccer is pretty odd compared to football and basketball, which are more strict about time, but the real problem is only allowing three substitutions per game. If the limit were upped some–to at least five–this rule would start to make sense. And subbing for injured players shouldn’t count against the limit, despite the possibility that players will fake being injured if the limit runs out.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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