Predicting the future of football is, sometimes, a hard task.
Some predictions have been correct and others have been wrong, but one comes from an unlikely source.
While the “Glo-Ball Report… Date: 2092” feature in the ‘Roy of the Rovers Yearbook 1993′ may have been a light-hearted joke in 1992 but, in a sport where marketing and money has become more important, it is far more relevant in 2011.
1. “In the qualifying rounds for the 2094 World Cup Finals, Great Britain have been drawn against the Middle East, Central Russia, the Western United States, and Oceania. The British team are co-favourites to repeat their World success in 2070 and 2082, along with defending world champions – North-East China.”
2. “In the tenth year of the World League of Soccer, the North London Aces (formerly Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Barnet) lift the world trophy, having beaten the California Cruisers in the last game – thanks to a hat-trick by Geoff Lineker.”
3. Tokyo Bullets, Berlin Bulls and Cape Town Crush are the three teams who are relegated from the World League of Soccer in 2092. The other competing teams are: Roman Raiders, Melchester Rovers, Nairobi Rhinos, Moscow Machine, Brasilia Forest and Mexico City Saints.
4. Great Britain won their second European Championship in a row after beating Iberia (formerly Spain and Portugal) in the final, at the 200,000 seater “Race Mega-Stadium” in Manchester.
5. “Royce [Race] has attracted a number of lucrative transfer offers from overseas club, most notably a quarter of a billion pluton bid from an unidentified Far Eastern source.”
6. “2093 sees the promotion of the three teams – Hong Kong Heat, Arabian Knights and South Pole Bears (whose home will be the temperature-controlled Ice Pavilion – five miles north of the South Pole!)”
7. “Next season, will herald the first ever Moon Shield – played under the Tranquillity Dome on the moon’s surface. The North London Aces (World League champions) will face Melchester Rovers (World League Cup champions) in this historic heavenly match-up. This game will pave the way for the introduction to the World League of the Lunar City Rockets, in 2095 – just twenty years after the initial colonisation of the moon’s surface.”
8. Rule changes include: “a ball cannot be kicked across the middle third – without being touched by a player” and “teams can only have a maximum of nine players in their defensive third”. Another rule change is “any foul by a defensive player in his own third results in an automatic five minutes in the sin-bin”.
9. Further rule changes include: “the pitch is divided into thirds and the game into quarters of an hour, with the clock stopping when the ball goes out of play” and “players can only be offside in the opposition’s third of the field”.
10. Other rule changes include: “penalty areas are now rounded with a radius of 20 meters” and “short corners are taken from the intersection of the penalty area and the goal-line”.
Is there a chance that space could become a marketing tool for football? Will Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Barnet join forces to become one unbeatable team? Could there really be a World League of Soccer and a 200,000-seater stadium in Manchester named after Roy Race? Could short corners and a sin-bin really be introduced?
It may or may not happen but, considering that the yearbook’s predictions seems less exaggerated now than it did in late 1992, there may be a small chance that football could really become like this in 2092.