HOW THE BACK-PASS RULE CHANGED FOOTBALL OVER NIGHT

HOW THE BACK-PASS RULE CHANGED FOOTBALL OVER NIGHT

 

“The back-pass law is the best rule change ever – it has changed the game”

Peter Schmeichal

THE BACK-PASS RULE CHANGE

Many football fanatics will swear football didn’t really start until 1992. In fact most Premier League-centrics put this down to the birth of the Premier League. A new beginning for the football as a technically proficient, fast-paced sport.

The Premier League era had nothing to do with the profound changes to the game. In fact it was 1992 changes to the back-pass law that changed everything. Not since the 1925 offside law change had a law change had such wide effects on a sport. There were some minor changes or amendments during the Premier League era regarding tackles, and kick off structure. But the Back-pass changes is 1992 literally changed the face of football forever.

The change was simple, until that point keepers could handle and pick up all passes from team mates, now they could not. Keepers could still handle headed, chested, kneed passes and even throw-ins until 1997. Now goal keepers were forced to be able to use their feet when needed and become part of some passing plays.

 

WHY CHANGE?

The reason for the law change was to prevent teams killing a game by simply passing back and forth between the keeper and defenders. Many games at the highest level would see a keep roll out a pass to a defender and receive it back just to turn and repeat the process with all 4 defenders. Some keepers were keeping the ball for up to 6 minutes per game which is a lot of time in a professional match. A perfect example of this negative football came in a 1987 European Cup match between Dynamo Kiev and Rangers. Rangers were 2-1 up and on the attack in the dying moments of the game. Midway into the opponents half Graeme Souness turned and played a 70-yard pass all the bay back to Chris Woods in the Rangers goal. It’s worth mentioning Souness would go on to be a victim of the new back-pass law.

 

1990 WORLD CUP = THE FINAL STRAW FOR

The 1990 World Cup is widely considered the worst World Cup in terms of game play and results. The Cup averages 2.2 goals per game setting a historical all-time low (that still stands today). The Cup also took the record for most red cards with 12 and the first ever in a World Cup final. The 1990 World Cup for famous for negative play and the massive over use of the back-pass. This in fact could easily be the

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