ATTACKER DEFENDER GOALKEEPER

Attacker Defender Goalkeeper (ADG) is a new alternative to the penalty kick shootout.* ADG features a series of ten contests in which an attacker has thirty seconds to score a goal against a defender and goalkeeper. At the completion of the ten contests, the team with the most goals is the winner. Read a brief explanation of ADG or you can download the full ADG document.

The 5th August 2010 marked the fortieth anniversary of the penalty kick shootout and if indeed it ever had a place in the game, then that time has indisputably come to an end. No other aspect of football is as universally unpopular with players, managers and supporters. Let’s make sure that it’s not another forty years before this blight on an otherwise beautiful game is eradicated.

The advantages of ADG include:

  1. All players participate
  2. Showcases skill and athleticism
  3. Positive natured contest
  4. Strategy is vital
  5. Promotes attacking play
  6. Promotes fair play

Four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup were decided by the penalty shootout, which equals the most in World Cup history. The semi final between the Netherlands and Argentina was a lacklustre contest with both teams seemingly happy for the match to be decided by penalties. And with everything that is at stake in modern football, it’s inevitable that more and more showpiece matches will also end in disappointing stalemates.

The penalty shootout is also an inherently unfair tiebreaker with the team kicking first having a greater than 60% chance of winning.3 Astonishingly, nine consecutive penalty shootouts were won by the team kicking first at the FIFA World Cup during a period from Japan/Korea 2002 to Brazil 2014.

ADG is about the promotion and preservation of the beauty of the game. And what's better for the game – a player walking up and converting a penalty kick to win a major competition, or the same player at full speed, swerving past a defender and bending the ball into the back of the net?

Quite simply, what ADG will deliver is spectacular and exhilarating goals. It's due to the skill and grace of movement of the world's great players that we call football the "beautiful game" and the reason why it's the most popular sport on earth. It's also of course why Messi, Ronaldo and Marta are continuously rated as the world's best players. If you've got a great product, then as the marketing people say, "let the product speak for itself." But ADG isn't just about the attacking players, it also gives defenders and goalkeepers equal opportunity to shine.

The undeniable benefit of ADG is that it combines the skill and athleticism of modern football with the inherent drama and tension of the penalty shootout. Most importantly, ADG provides a competitive environment where the superior football team will ultimately claim victory.

We're all scared of change but we also know that the shootout is an unsatisfactory solution and that's why we've seen things like golden goal and silver goal. Of course ADG is a bold and radical alternative, but the very nature of such a diabolical problem necessitates creative thinking, innovation and evolution. It's also important to remember that prior to the shootout, drawn matches were decided by the toss of a coin. I doubt that even the shootout's most vociferous critics would argue that its introduction wasn't an improvement over the coin toss and I believe that ADG should be viewed as another step forward in this evolutionary process.

* While Kicks from the Penalty Mark is the official name, this website will use - penalty kick shootout. And penalty shootout, penalties or just shootout, will be used interchangeably.


"Penalties are awful, unfair, but what else is there?"

Laurent Blanc
Former French Player