A university lecturer, Dr Bonnyface Oji Opia has introduced to the sporting world a new game which he has christened the Beautiful Ball Game.
Dr Opia, who is also a sports innovator, proclaimed the new football-like game at the weekend in Lagos.
At the unveiling of the new game held at the EHJ Guest House Conference Hall, St. Leo Catholic Church, Ikeja, Lagos, Opia ruled out a conflict with the Federation of International Football Association, FIFA although he admitted that the new game is similar to football, but “differs in many respects from the extant soccer game. He said the difference between the new game and football could be seen in areas such as field design, rules and method of play with invaluable new features that address major limitations of football.”
The Beautiful Game, Opia disclosed is played not necessarily to put the ball into the net but to target and achieve specific goals while doing so.
“Three major goals that players of the novelty will seek to achieve are: peace and conciliation, gender equality and education and learning. Incidentally, these three goals are part of the 17 Social Development Goals unveiled by the United Nations at the 70th United Nations General Assembly.
“A unique feature of the new game is the role of a 12th player, which bears a crown in which the goals that players seek to accomplish are embedded, a feature that is inspired by a feature of baseball and cricket.
“It is a game in which penalty kicks can be taken with no goal keeper in post; goals scored under some conditions as in the last minute are doubled; the goal post by design reduces the chances of the ball not crossing the line whenever it hits the cross bar. This soccer-like game can be performed on a playing field made of natural grass or synthetic materials.”
The university don said he introduced the sport as a way to enrich humanity with a game, whose utility rests not only in entertainment but will serve as a tool for promoting individual and organizational causes.
“We are convinced that the United Nations, individual countries and development organizations will find in this game a potent tool for promoting goal orientated behavior and mobilizing citizens for action.”
Opia said the new game would be administered by a soon to be set up international body, which unique feature is that its constitution will include multiple stakeholders such as former world leaders.
“There shall be a parliament representing people of diverse constituencies in different countries, whose voice shall count in decision making. The input of the parliament will be required in deciding allocation of hosting rights to international tournaments.
“The parliament will also be involved in resolving issues that may affect the outcome of matches. Tournaments such as the world cup that will be mounted for the new sport will be incorporated to ensure the full application of corporate governance rules. The involvement of the parliament in decision-making is expected to help reduce match fixing. The new game will be performed under three league systems dedicated to individuals, families and teams.”
The don, who said the rules and format of the new game will not conflict with football or the world soccer governing body, FIFA, added that the operational name of the game, standard field design, rules, method of play, administrative framework and related matters would unveiled at a media launch slated for later this year.