MLS Innovates and Takes a Stand Against Anti-Gameplay

Major League Soccer announces measures to reduce simulations and expedite matches in the 2024 season
Los Angeles Football Club v Columbus Crew - 2023 MLS Cup
Los Angeles Football Club v Columbus Crew - 2023 MLS Cup / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Major League Soccer (MLS) is about to take a significant step in combating unsportsmanlike practices that have infiltrated soccer fields. With the 2024 season on the horizon, the league has announced two new rules that promise not only to decrease unnecessary stoppages but also to redefine the dynamics of the game.

The first change focuses on the issue of injuries and the notorious 'time-wasting' practiced by some players. Now, if an athlete remains on the ground for 15 seconds due to a possible injury, they will be required to stay off the field for a minimum of 2 minutes. However, it's important to note that sensible exceptions exist for situations such as fouls resulting in cards, serious injuries, goalkeeper interventions, or head injuries.

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Mohamed Farsi, Carlos Vela
Los Angeles Football Club v Columbus Crew - 2023 MLS Cup / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The second alteration aims to expedite substitutions, a moment often marked by procrastination and time wastage. Starting in 2024, a player being substituted will have only 10 seconds to leave the field. If this deadline is not adhered to, the substitute player will face a wait of at least 60 seconds before entering the next break. This measure aims to maintain the flow of the game and avoid unnecessary interruptions.

In addition to these operational changes, the MLS also takes inspiration from FIFA by adjusting the VAR protocol. After reviewing plays through Video Assistant Referee (VAR), referees will now announce their decisions directly to the stadium fans and viewers, providing greater transparency to the arbitration process.

These initiatives demonstrate MLS's commitment to improving the quality of the spectacle and ensuring that soccer is decided on the field, not through trickery and questionable strategies. Now, we await the implementation of these rules in the 2024 season and observe how they will shape the future of the sport in the United States.