Penalties should precede extra time: study

05 May 2010 | 9:00 - By SBS Sport

A study by La Trobe University suggests teams would have more incentive to play attacking football if a penalty shoot-out was decided before extra time.

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Sydney FC goalkeeper Clint Bolton went a long way to helping his side to victory over Melbourne [GETTY]

Football can be a frustrating sport at the best of times.

For a fan, one of the most disheartening parts of the global game is penalty shoot-outs.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter once described the penalty shoot-out as a tragedy, and if you can remember the FIFA 2006 World Cup Final, one would agree.

Closer to home was the recent Sydney FC-Melbourne Victory A-League Grand Final which also ended up coming down to a shoot-out.

But would the game be better off without penalty shoot-outs?

A recent study by La Trobe University economists uses econometric modeling and regression techniques to estimate what would happen if the shoot-out were to be staged before (rather than after) extra-time, with the shoot-out result determining the winner only if the subsequent extra-time does not separate the teams anyway.

The research, conducted by La Trobe's School of Economics and Finance department used a comprehensive database of over 500,000 matches from scores of various domestic and global competitions, the authors compare scoring outcomes of two groups of matches whereby one group closely simulates what the proposed rule change would do, and the other group represents the current rule.

"The key to the rule lies in the economic incentives that it creates for players," Dr Jan Libich said.

"The team that loses the shoot-out under this proposal would become more attacking in extra-time than currently because they have to score to win, and while the shoot-out winner becomes more defensive, what really matters is the net of these two effects."

The authors' results indicate that for competitions such as the World Cup and the UEFA Cup, the probability of scoring in extra-time would increase on average by 45-60 per cent under the new rule, depending on various factors such as the result in regulation time, evenness of the teams, stage of the tournament and home ground advantage.

The proportion of goalless extra-times would therefore approximately fall by half: from almost 50 per cent to below 25 per cent.

Dr Libich laments this proposal would be a vast improvement on the previous experiments such as the 'golden/silver goal' rule.

"It backfired because it incentivised both teams to be even more defensive due to the higher 'cost' of conceding a goal, therefore it undermined its own intention, and was eventually abandoned after Euro 2004."

The findings are currently being presented by La Trobe's Dr Liam Lenten at several institutions across Europe in the lead up to the World Cup, including a 'Psychology of Football' conference in London and seminars at the Universities of Birmingham, Iceland and the home of the FIFA, Zurich.

The university is suggesting that FIFA should consider trialling the proposed rule change in lower-tier competitions and if the rule proves to be a success, then it should be implemented in the top-tier leagues.


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09 Jan 2011 13:17 AEST

LEO D'CRUZ

From: WARRNAMBOOL 3280

EXTRA TIME

INSTEAD OF PENALTY SHOOT OUTS AFTER EXTRA TIME WHY NOT AT EXTRA TIME REDUCE NUMBER OF PLAYERS FOR EACH TEAM SAY ONE LESS PLAYER IN THE IST HALF AND ANOTHER PLAYER LESS IN THE SECOND HALF. THIS MEANS THE TEAM WILL WIN OR LOSE NOT THE PENALTY TAKERS OR THE GOAL KEEPERS. SURELY A GOAL WILL BE PRODUCED WITH LESS PLAYERS ON THE PITCH.

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08 Jun 2010 11:47 AEST

Nobby Head

From: The drunk tank, Sydney

A study conducted in the Sydney Uni bar concluded ....

.... add up the number of times a team heads the ball, divide it by the number of injuries they sustain during the game then multiply it by the number of times they kick the ball out for a corner. Of course you'd need to take away two for a yellow card and five for a red. This method would encourage teams to head the ball more, sustain fewer injuries, win corners and avoid getting carded. It's amazing what you can sort out when you're at Uni. Any other major world problems we can help you with?

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06 Jun 2010 3:10 AEST

Kanasai

From: Perth

Latrobeee?

Such a shitty Uni which came out with such shitty statement..

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02 Jun 2010 14:54 AEST

SV

From: Sydney

Draw

Although I agree with Pom's "park the bus" comment, the problem with shoot-outs after extra time is that BOTH teams tend to park the bus - that extra 30 minutes tends to be the most boring part of the game! At least with penalties before extra time, the onus is on one of the teams to attack - the other might sit back, but at its own peril. But in the end, I think there should only be a penalty shoot-out if and when it's needed, ie after extra time to avoid the ridiculous scenario of having won a shoot-out but losing the game.

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02 Jun 2010 14:54 AEST

SV

From: Sydney

Draw

Although I agree with Pom's "park the bus" comment, the problem with shoot-outs after extra time is that BOTH teams tend to park the bus - that extra 30 minutes tends to be the most boring part of the game! At least with penalties before extra time, the onus is on one of the teams to attack - the other might sit back, but at its own peril. But in the end, I think there should only be a penalty shoot-out if and when it's needed, ie after extra time to avoid the ridiculous scenario of having won a shoot-out but losing the game.

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02 Jun 2010 12:05 AEST

xavier

From: Newcastle

what moron thought this up?

Muzza: Economists, that's who. Explains a lot. Might as well toss a coin at the start of the game and say: if there's a draw, the team that won the toss wins. Ridiculous.

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01 Jun 2010 18:59 AEST

Pat

From: Sydney

extra time

Introduce this crap, then the winner of the pen. shootout will just play to draw/timewaste, which means that there will be a lower quality of football being played. The golden goal rule was a good example of an incentive to play more attacking football, although it was a cruel way to lose. Crueler than the Penalties?? Its up to you...

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31 May 2010 15:00 AEST

Bob

From: Smurfville

Team performance

I think extra time should be left excactly as it is. Though maybe they could incorporate additional player forced penalty time for cards and intentional diving made earlier in the match. For example if a player is caught for intentional diving at some point in the main game then his team would pay a 5 minutes player off pitch penalty during extra time so his team has only 10 men for 5 mins. If there are more than 3 cards for the game by one team then they would be down by a man for the first half of extra time and some time in the second half of ET. Of course it just wouldnt be one sided if the other side also had cards then both teams would be down men for the required time. I would hope that this would do one of two things. A: make the game a little more exciting in extra time (the same way ice hockey is more exciting during penalty time). B: Clean up a lot of the foul play and diving that has become so common and almost accepted in the game. Since diving has no real punishment as it stands.

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30 May 2010 21:07 AEST

Ben

From: Tasmania

Extra time

This is soccer were talking about. (The games about strategy not dam puting all the pressure on the keeper!) Just keep it the way it is!

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24 May 2010 19:16 AEST

Stuart John Pearson

From: Port Macquarie NSW

Penalty Shot out after normal time.

This is an absolute shocking idea by La Trobe University.I think some of the other suggestions have more merit such as ulitising the number of corner kicks after the extra time period would be a good option.Then ulitised the penalty shot out if the amount of corner kicks are equal.

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