AC Milan boss Pioli suggests enacting basketball-like backcourt violation rule

Stefano Pioli Milan Cagliari 2909Getty

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has proposed some radical changes to football's rules that he believes will make the sport more exciting.

Pioli was initially asked about the five substitutes rule and how it benefits his team, which prompted the 55-year-old to suggest some more innovations.

One of those includes a rule preventing teams from going back into their own half after they've crossed the halfway line, similar to basketball’s backcourt violation, which Pioli says would encourage more attacking play.

What did Pioli say?

Speaking to reporters to preview Saturday’s trip to Spezia, Pioli said the use of five substitutes, first introduced when football restarted following the coronavirus outbreak last year, is beneficial to player welfare.

“They are very important,” he said. "I have been saying this for a long time. Especially now that we play every three days. It is never the quantity of minutes in which one plays, but the quality with which one plays them.”

That prompted Pioli to think of some more innovations that he believes will improve the sport.

“If I had my way the clock would stop when the ball goes out of play and I’d bring in a time-out in the first half,” added Pioli, likely in response to last weekend's stop-start draw with Juventus, where the ball was only in play for 48 of the 95 minutes.

“If we want to see more attacking football in the modern game, bring in a rule where you can’t go back into your own half once you’ve crossed the halfway line.”

Pioli up for title challenge

Milan go into the Spezia game in third place in Serie A after last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Juve.

Leading the pack is Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli, who have won five league matches out of five so far.

Pioli is not surprised by their fast start and expects them to challenge for the title as the season progresses, alongside Milan.

"I expected Napoli to do as well as they have,” he added. “They've changed very little and added [Andre-Frank Zambo] Anguissa who is strong. They are among the best in the league. They have a deep squad and a great coach. They'll fight for the Scudetto.

“The battle for the top spots will be fierce, but I’m happy with my team, the squad is of high quality and I have many solutions.”

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