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Overtime asks the next generation of reporters how they would clean up the sports they love most

By Izzie Sewell

At the 2021 Euro Tournament the Women’s Norwegian Handball Team were presented with a fine of 1,500 Euros for not competing in bikini bottoms and opting to wear shorts instead.

This lack of leniency for kit regulations within sport at professional levels for female athletes angers me.

This decision, made by the European Handball Association Disciplinary Commission (EHADC), appears to fuel the stereotypes concerning female athletes adopting a ‘feminine image’ and reveals them exposing a female body to attract more attention from the media and increase the viewing audience.

Thoughtless decisions such as these lead to increased drop-out rates among female athletes as they feel uncomfortable to participate due to the lack of inclusivity.

A possible solution for this would be allowing more flexibility within the regulations. This process begins by making national governing bodies and associations, such as the European Handball Association Disciplinary Commission (EHADC), more inclusive by improving representation, whether this be gender, sexuality or race.

Although there have been major changes within sport recently to allow more choice concerning kit for female athletes, there are still many organisations that prevent women from feeling included due to that lack of choice and harsh standards. 

By Annabel Bassett

Something that infuriates me in football is when the referees aren’t consistent with their allocation
of yellow cards.

Some matches a referee will let the game flow – for want of a better phrase – and not book a player for a controversial action; however other times the referee will book multiple players early in the match.

For example, in the opening minutes of the Liverpool v Manchester City match at Anfield there were committed tackles taking place all over the pitch and yet nobody was booked until later in the game. This caused tempers to flare, understandably, in players from both sides due to the evident lack of consistency in the referee’s decisions.

Players who had only just entered the pitch in the 82nd minute of the match were being penalised for committing challenges not dissimilar to ones which had taken place in the 15th minute of the match.

By Robbie Dalrymple

In football referees take too long to pander over a decision.

I’ve had enough.

In the Premier League the referees take on average 84 seconds to come to a decision which
is far too long. The longest being up to three minutes, 45 seconds. This stops play and makes
the audience lose track and the flow is halted.

My suggestion on how to reduce the time is to give referees a time limit. The law says that the original decision can only be overturned if it’s a clear and obvious error, however how can it be a clear and obvious error if it’s taking the officials in excess of three minutes to reach a decision?!

By reducing the time officials have to make a decision this would speed up the game and encourage officials to stick with their original decision. Despite them taking so long to come to a decision they still make incorrect decisions every 3.5 matches so it’s not like the time is being put to good use.

By Iola Wright

VAR is biased towards the ‘big six’. This makes me mad about sport. These decisions are gut wrenching for teams who need wins to ensure league status.

Chelsea v West Ham, at the start if the 2022/23 season if a perfect example of this. After coming from behind, Chelsea were winning 2-1, and in the last few moments Maxwell Cornet scored an equaliser for West Ham.

This goal was overturned by VAR as they deemed Jarrod Bowen had fouled Eduoard Mendy in the lead up to the goal. However, it was obvious there was some dramatics from Mendy, in the replays, and the PGMOL apologised to West Ham the following day, accepting it was an incorrect decision.

While it can’t be guaranteed there would’ve been a different outcome regarding the goal if the roles were reversed, many fans of the other 14 teams, would argue there is an unfair biased towards the ‘big six’.

By Casper Warby

The yo-yo effect. Norwich City over recent seasons has earned the title to many as a ‘yo-yo club’ This is due to their lack of ability in the Premier League compared to their recent flourishing ability in the Championship, making people wonder why they struggle to compete when they make it to the big time.

The director of football. The scapegoat for many of the Norwich fan base including myself is the ability of sporting director Stuart Webber.

The beginning of his Norwich career started with an abundance of success with two promotions at both times of asking in the Championship. However, this success was dampened respectively nine months later both occasions as the lack of investment in the 19/20 season as we spent eight million pounds on 19 arrivals proving that we did not have the financial firepower to compete at the highest level of English football.

This was not the case in the 21/22 season where Norwich was the 8th biggest spenders in Europe splashing over 63 million on 30 players respectively showing that when we are backed by the board the ability of the directors and staff is at fault.

By Beth Brown

What is often described as The Beautiful Game, is often not so beautiful but somewhat frustrating.

When reflecting on what I find pretty infuriating about the game, it has to be the length of time taken for VAR decisions during match time. Whether it is celebrating a match-winning goal or being awarded a last-minute penalty, having to wait for that one decision can be quite nerve-wracking and time-consuming.

According to the Premier League, the average time for a full VAR review with an overturned decision is approximately 84 seconds. Although it is often the way that the lost time will be added on as stoppage time at the end of the match, could this stop-start nature of the game be affecting the players and consequently the results?

Currently, there is no time limit on the review process, however, with added frustration from both players and fans, the near future could potentially see a time cap on the time allowed for decision-making.

By Alejandro Moore

It feels as if a new handball rule is being followed every time a handball event occurs in the Premier League. An ongoing theme of inconsistency in football is the handball law despite the recent changes made in the 2021/22 season.

The new handball laws were introduced in July 1, 2021 welcoming two major changes; deliberate act of handball, which is essentially whether a players hand/arm is decided to be in a natural position, and finally the handball before scoring rule.

The main controversy in these rules is the deliberate act of handball as a natural position can be too vague.

An example of this is in the Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa game in the 22/23 season, where Lucas Digne conceded a penalty via handball as it was deemed an “unnatural position”.

This shows the cruelty of the law as when jumping a player must use his arms to gain height especially when defending in a corner situation however as a result the ball ricocheted off Digne arm from close range leading to a penalty that gained Palace the lead and the three points in the end.

By Jacob Palladino

Our refereeing system needs a major overhaul.

The refereeing standards in English football seem to drop every year, with officials struggling to make basic decisions and operate the VAR as it was intended.

In this season alone, PGMOL issued fifteen apologies to teams across the Premier League for inadequate refereeing performances, with Brighton and Hove Albion receiving four alone, costing them expensive points.

In the last ten years, English referees have rarely taken charge in major finals outside England with only Mark Clattenburg officiating in the 2016 UEFA Champions League final and Howard Webb officiating at the 2010 world cup final. This would suggest that the quality of English refereeing is not considered to be good enough for international standard.

Frequently ego driven, unready and embroiled in controversy, our referees would benefit from an overhaul of the promotions system. They reach the Premier League too soon and with too little experience before operating at the top level.

By Samuel Germain

Modern day Premier League football has seen a rather large increase in managers and coaches taking their ‘in match’ frustrations out on the always innocent looking fourth official.

This will usually consist of face to confrontation and a significant amount of abuse…

Why is this an issue and very frustrating? What is firstly important to acknowledge in this situation is that Premier League football is watched by 40% of the UK’s population (nearly 27 million) about a third of this number being people age 16 or under.

Which is why this such a prominent issue as children are being exposed to pejorative behaviour by well established and experienced individuals.

Some would call these characters as role models and if young children and adults are seeing this type of behaviour being displayed on the main stage of football its only naturally going to fall into grass roots levels.

By Harrison Coates

Teams ruining the fan experience and removing the excitement out of the matches by playing boring football and passing around the back makes me mad.

One example I have for this is the Champions League knockout match between Tottenham and AC Milan as both teams played extremely negative despite Tottenham needing to score.

This is frustrating for supporters, especially the ones who have paid to go to the game, who are expecting an enticing and thrilling game but are left with a game full of defence and a long journey home.

A solution I have to ensure fans are amused and excited throughout the game is to form a rule where a team can only have so many touches in their own half before they have to move the ball into the opposition half. This will keep the game attacking and fun for the supporters and if this rule is not followed by either team, they are punished with the other team gaining possession.

By Louis Selling

The most frustrating aspect of football is the time wasting done by most teams, no matter their position in the table.

In most games throughout the season, every team has done it numerous times but the worst culprit is Aston Villa’s Argentine goalkeeper, Emi Martinez.

Think back to the May 28, 2023, where Villa were playing Brighton on the last game of the season and needed a win to secure a Conference league spot. Villa went into the second half 2-1 up and during every goal kick the Argentine delayed at least a minute which killed all the moment and enjoyment.

I understand why teams do waste time but the referees need to be strict and take a three step approach to prevent it. A warning led by a yellow card, then a red card if the player continues. Also a game clock could also help to prevent time wasting

By Jack Delaney

Dmitry Mazepin owns a Russian business, Uralkali. In 2021, they became the title sponsor of HAAS F1 team and with them came Dmitry’s son, Nikita Mazepin, as one of HAAS’s drivers for the 2021 season.

Nikita’s record in Formula 2 didn’t set his Formula 1 career up for success, with a reputation of being an inconsistent driver. His debut season in Formula 1 at the Bahrain grand prix lasted approximately 15 seconds as he crashed on the first lap at turn three.

His season wouldn’t improve from there, being beaten in 16 out of the 21 races by his teammate – Mick Schumacher – and out qualified in 19 out of 21.

To prevent this in the future, Formula 1 should implement a rule where a driver’s parent is barred from having financial influence over their child’s team. This would deter teams being swayed into signing a driver for money and rather sign a driver with raw talent.

By Sophie Scriven

One thing that makes me mad about sport is when in football matches are cancelled the day of the game due to icy or rainy weather conditions.

An example of this is in winter 2022/23 when several games were called off when teams were already on their way to the ground they had to play at.

The league’s research identified that at least 60 matches across the English football pyramid were postponed due to sub zero temperature in January 2023. Matches in the Championship, League 1, League 2, WSL and the Women’s Championship were postponed this winter which meant the schedule became more crammed towards the end of the season due to backlog of postponed matches.

A specific example of this is when in December 2022 Lewes FC Women were on the way to Bristol’s ground and the match was cancelled so they had to stop and turn back around.

By Harvey Puttick

One thing that ruins football for me is the constant diving from the players and trying to argue a decision that will never be overturned for them.

The diving just ruins the flow of the game and isn’t fair for a team that is dominating the game as it will change the speed of the game and will break down the attacks.

And when a player argues back with the referee, they know that he will never change his decision and they are just arguing to waste time and disrupt the game to try and relieve the pressure on behalf of their team.

I believe to stop both happening they should start booking players more regularly for diving and also book the players more often for dissent as it will stop this happening and will make sure the referees are open to make their decisions without the external pressure.

One thing that makes me mad about sports is, diving in Football. I strongly believe that this becomes more of a problem every single season.

On average over the last 10 years only 25 cards have been given per season. Most people would agree that there is at least 1 player diving per game in a single season. This means only 6% of dives committed receive the punishment. This is simply not good enough.

The main culprits for diving are players like Mohammed Salah and Neymar Jr. The fact that such popular players are known for diving will only be a bad thing for the future of the sport, as it will become so normalised for the future generation. I feel like the sooner officials crack down on diving the better.

There are already meant to be consequences for diving however I feel like referees just let it go with only a warning. If players started getting fined or carded for diving I believe it would quickly become less of a regular occurrence.

By Ed Groves

FIFA players will all know the rule, that goalkeepers can’t hold the ball for more than six seconds before the game automatically kicks the ball for you, so why don’t professional Premier League referees?

The laws of the game are meant to be that the goalkeeper is not allowed to handle the ball for more than six seconds if so an indirect free-kick is awarded, this rule seems to be forgotten, essentially giving goalkeepers a gateway to time waste at no expense.

Potentially costing Arsenal football club their first Premier League title since 2003 over 20 years ago, after a 3-3 draw against bottom of the league Southampton.

Gavin Bazanu the Saints goalkeeper managed to keep the ball in his hands for over 10 seconds and we know this thanks to the Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus who was keeping count with both hands, justice should be served for officials’ incompetence.

What makes me most angry about sports, is the decision making at Tottenham Hotspur. Specifically, the previous three managerial appointments; Antonio Conte, Nuno Espirito Santo, and Jose Mourinho.

Since the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have finished 4th, 6th, 7th, 4th and 8th in the Premier Legu. In my opinion, this is due to a lack of joined up thinking from the board, and seeking a ‘serial winning manager’ whether or not that aligns with our clubs footballing philosophy.

This can most prominently be seen with the hiring and subsequent transfers made under Conte, a manager who is known for playing counter attacking football in a back five system.

This led to Spurs signing specialist players to fit this system, specifically Djed Spence (who Conte didn’t play), Ivan Perisic (who is 34 and on large wages), and Pedro Porro (who will cost £45m). All of these players are likely to be defensively exposed in a back four system, which new manager Ange Postecoglou is likely to want to play.

In my opinion, the solution to this, is to appoint a sporting director who shares the vision for Spurs to play attacking football, and the managerial appointments and signings are moulded to fit their vision.

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June 2024