Revolutionizing Football: Advocating for Nine Players-a-Side Format

The End Times

The manager of End United laments that the 11-a-side version of the game has been popularised and tells why football should go back to its roots.

Hello, I am John Capitol, manager of End United. The editor has kindly allowed me to use The End Times to suggest to FIFA and the FA that the rules of football are tweaked and made more in keeping with the spirit of the game when it was first invented.

Football, known globally as the beautiful game, has evolved over time, capturing hearts with its skill, excitement, and camaraderie. However, as the sport continues to evolve, it’s worth considering whether the traditional eleven players-a-side format is the best option. I hope to present a compelling case for changing football’s rules and adopting a nine players-a-side format, highlighting potential benefits for both players and spectators.

The Case for Change

  1. Increased Space and Pace: A smaller team size translates to more space on the field, fostering a faster-paced and dynamic style of play. With fewer players crowding the field, there’s greater potential for intricate passing, creative playmaking, and strategic positioning.
  2. Skill Emphasis: A nine players-a-side format encourages players to refine their technical abilities. With fewer teammates to rely on, individuals are compelled to enhance their ball control, dribbling, and decision-making skills, ultimately elevating the overall quality of play.
  3. Tactical Innovation: Coaches would need to devise new strategies and formations to accommodate the smaller team size. This shift could lead to fresh tactical approaches, fostering innovation and making the game more intellectually engaging for both players and coaches.
  4. Enhanced Spectator Experience: A faster-paced and more skill-focused game could captivate audiences, attracting new fans and reinvigorating the interest of existing ones. The potential for higher-scoring matches and dramatic turnarounds could create thrilling viewing experiences.
  5. Accessibility and Participation: A smaller team size could promote grassroots participation, making it easier to organize matches and form teams. This could lead to increased opportunities for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy playing football.

Addressing Potential Concerns

  1. Tradition: The eleven players-a-side format is deeply entrenched in football’s history. However, sports evolve over time to accommodate changing preferences and advancements, and this proposed change could mark a new chapter in the sport’s legacy.
  2. Player Adaptation: Adapting to a new format might initially pose challenges for players and teams. However, just as teams have adjusted to other rule changes in the past, they can adapt and thrive in a nine players-a-side setting.
  3. Defensive Challenges: Critics might argue that a smaller team size would make defending more difficult. However, innovative strategies and tactics could emerge to address defensive concerns, ultimately maintaining the balance between offense and defense.


As football continues to capture the imagination of fans in End and around the world, it’s crucial to explore opportunities for innovation while preserving the essence of the game. The proposal to adopt a nine players-a-side format presents exciting prospects for enhanced gameplay, tactical creativity, and increased accessibility. While change might encounter resistance, history has shown that adaptations can lead to new eras of success and excitement. Embracing this change could breathe new life into football, ensuring its enduring relevance for generations to come.

Please do come and cheer End United on this season. We are hoping to make a push for a Europe this year and welcome all fans new and old.

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