The shame of penalties: broken the record of 1950. And 9 days left … But what football is this? | First page

The numbers in football are sometimes drawn out of proportion, but in other circumstances they help to understand and confirm the sensations of the field. Let’s take the penalties. It seems to you that too many are being assigned, often without any sense, as if this has become a sport where contact is prohibited? Well, you are not wrong.

The numbers, already. If we talk about penalties, they are striking. With the seven conceded on this day (before the last two games are played), we reached 142. IS’ a record for 20 team championships, the precedent dates back to 1949-50: another world, another life, another football. Be careful, however, because the figure we have now reached is not definitive, quite the opposite: 92 games remain to be played (Atalanta-Napoli, Roma-Udinese and the 90 of the last nine days). If we go ahead with this average – then we’ll say what it is – we would approach 200. In the last championship there were 122.

We said average. In Serie A, in the 288 games of this championship, one penalty was called every 2.02 matches and, in particular, one every 182 minutes. If you think – like us – that the most spectacular football is admired in England, because the referees blow their whistle less and let them play more, take note of how many penalties have been conceded in the Premier League this year: 73. And in a greater number of games than those that took place in Serie A, because the lockdown slowed down the tournament less: net of the two matches tonight, in England there were 318 matches. Average? A penalty every 4.35 games and 392 minutes.

In the Premier League, in short, there are less than half the penalties compared to Serie A. Yet the regulation is the same, also for the hand ball, with a lot of Var looming. Could it be that our defenders are doubly careless? We believe not. By now, in Italy every half contact becomes a penalty. But this is no longer football. Meditate, referees …


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