The Observer reports this morning that the International Football Association Board (meeting in Belfast next week) will discuss adding an extra five minutes to half time, because it is concerned that, “players and referees have no time for rest at some stadiums after walking to the dressing room”. Poor mites!
It has not been lost on the paper that the extra minutes would also enable the generation of considerably greater advertising revenue for FIFA and TV companies.
Not too many years ago half time lasted just ten minutes. Frankly, if young men cannot rest and be out on the field ready to play another half in fifteen minutes, then they should not be considered professional athletes and should seek another profession.
As usual it would be fans who actually attend matches in the cheap seats who would be most inconvenienced, to the benefit of TV companies, armchair spectators and corporate hospitality types who get an extra few minutes to quaff champagne and network, without anything as trivial as football getting in the way.
At the same meeting the Irish FA will push for the introduction of sin bins for certain offences. This is an idea which might work. It seems to have been successful enough in rugby.
The cruel side of me wishes to point out, however, that with crumbling Irish League stadia hitting the news ( I’m pleased to report that I visited Seaview yesterday without a wall falling on me) and having just outlawed the biggest domestic fixture of the season, Raymond Kennedy et al had better use any excess ingenuity to sort out problems closer to home.