Former Vice-Chairman Of Arsenal David Dein proposes dual-end penalty shootouts to give players home-fan advantage:
David Dein, the former vice-chairman of Arsenal and the Football Association, is initiating a major campaign to radically reform penalty shootouts in football matches. He is proposing a revolutionary new format where players take penalties at both ends of the field, allowing them to shoot in front of their home fans.
Dein explained, “My plan is so simple I don’t understand why it’s never been implemented before. I keep hearing ‘tradition’ and that ‘it’s always been done this way’. But 100 years ago buses were drawn by horses and that was considered ‘tradition’ too. Changing penalty shootouts is simply progress.”
The original spark for Dein’s innovative idea came after Arsenal’s heartbreaking loss in a penalty shootout to Galatasaray in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final under manager Arsene Wenger. Dein clearly recalled, “We had to take our penalties at the Galatasaray end, with over 20,000 frenzied Turkish fans whistling, jeering and booing as our players stepped up to take their kicks. It was an extremely hostile and intimidating environment and incredibly unfair on our team to take such crucial penalties right below the opponent’s fans.”
To actually implement his proposed dual-end shootout system, Dein suggests positioning two officials at each end of the field rather than making a single referee run back and forth. Dein practically stated, “It’s not rocket science to have two referees officiating at either end and one in the centre circle. There are already multiple officials and dozens of cameras at major finals nowadays, so coverage and oversight wouldn’t change at all.”
Dein has already found allies at the Dutch Football Association who are eager to test his inventive penalty shootout concept in their prestigious domestic KNVB Cup competition. He has also personally discussed it with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and proposed conducting five major surveys: analyzing the history of penalty shootouts for any bias based on fan proximity, getting direct feedback from fans, players, referees and broadcasters.
Dein asserted, “I’ve no doubt that fans, players and broadcasters would be massively in favor of this progressive change after being consulted. Let’s ask 30,000 Coventry City fans if they were happy watching the climatic shootout from the opposite end in the Championship playoff final, unable to properly support their team. And ask Arsenal supporters in Copenhagen who couldn’t even see the pivotal penalties that decided their European fate. Let’s directly ask players: ‘Would you rather take your high-pressure penalty kicks in front of your own cheering, supportive fans?’ This is ultimately about fairness and sportsmanship.”
Respected figures in the English game like former Premier League referee David Elleray have expressed support, emphasizing the huge psychological advantage of taking penalties in front of home fans. The player’s focus and composure can make all the difference.
Dein has reached out for formal backing from major English refereeing figures like Mike Riley, Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg. He plans to push the proposal at the next IFAB meeting, as English football’s representative. Dein said, “With modern technology, there is simply no reason not to have this option for fairer, more engaging shootouts.”
If approved, Dein’s penalty shootout proposal could be trialed in domestic cup competitions like the FA Cup next season. With momentum for the change growing, football fans may soon see the first dual-end shootouts with chants echoing from both sides in major tournaments like the World Cup. For now, it remains an innovative idea from one of football’s most creative thinkers.