Hold keepers to the clock

Remember the rule that keepers have to play the ball within six seconds of possessing it? Apparently, some referees don’t either. During the World Cup, time and again keepers laid on balls, like a bird hatching an egg, or slow-stepped to the top of the box, draining well more than six seconds. On goal kicks, keepers have elevated time-wasting to an art form. No one is better than Denmark’s Kasper Schmeichel, who moves with just enough pace to give the faint impression he is trying to get on with it. It is maddening to see a keeper cheat off 30-45 seconds while getting ready to take a kick. First, the keeper searches for that perfect tuft of grass. Then he tees the ball up high on that tuft. Next, he stubs his boot into the grass behind the ball. Then, like a boat captain scanning the sea, he surveys the field for that one elusive target. Finally, he raises his hand, for what reason no one knows. Play, damn it. Hey ref, uphold the integrity of the game. First a warning, then a card. Don’t let bad actors ruin the flow.

2018-12-11T02:45:41+00:00