And finally the new LaLiga season starts. The new campaign gets underway at San Mamés between two classic sides, Athletic y Barça. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the domestic competition which embarked on the English model of each side playing one another during the course of the season. Head of LaLiga Javier Tebas had planned a pre-match party with live music to mark the occasion, but doubts about when the opening fixture would be played (which was only resolved a week ago) meant the event had to be cancelled. At present we'll have LaLiga games going ahead on Friday nights, but not Mondays, at least for the moment. There is more tradition of a Monday night game, dating back to over 20 years ago, but it's not a great day from the supporters point of view.
Rules and regulations
So there will be no pre-game party as there will be no Leo Messi at San Mamés but we will see a new wave of rules which all make perfect sense in my esteem, except for two. I'm referring to the fact that the winning captain of the initial coin toss can select to to elect to kick-off or select in which side of the pitch to attack first. The other relates to the card being shown to an offending coach or his back-room staff on the bench, a procedure that was done with some years and I'm really not sure why. It seems with the passing of time, each head of the varying committees that run the game want to leave their personal stamp and to be honest the only rule that has really changed the game in a positive way over the past 20 years is the pass-back rule.
One of the biggest changes we'll see this season is goalkeepers being able to take goal kicks with the ball not having to leave the area. Straight away, both Lopetegui at Sevilla and Benfica boss Bruno Lage had their keepers knock the ball to a near by defender who would it head it back into their arms, so the modification of the modification had to be implemented. There was a period in the game, whereby a pre-season tournament was staged in Monaco (with I recall both López Ufarte and Míchel playing in) and it would include potential new rules to see who they impacted on the fluidity the match. Nowadays, there is no such luxury afforded by those in power in running the game.