Soccer, just like many other sports like basketball, hockey, and every other sport that uses two sides of the pitch, allows the two teams involved to make use of the two sides before the end of the game.
Typically when you are seeing a football game, both teams pick a side of the pitch that they want to play from. One team will attack from left to right; the other will attack from right to left.
With the soccer field usually smooth and balanced without any slope, it is then a surprise and a thing of curiosity to wonder why teams switch their sides at halftime.
How do soccer teams decide which side of the pitch to use at kick off?
When a soccer match is about to be played before kickoff, there are several formalities that are usually done, and one of them is picking a side of the pitch.
In the case of international football, national anthems at taken before there’s an exchange of pleasantries and photographs taken.
In between, the two captains of both teams go to the referee, who uses a coin toss to determine where each team starts the game, attack, and defend.
Wherever a team starts the game is where the team will end the first half before getting the opportunity to switch. In soccer, each half is 45 minutes.
Why do soccer teams switch sides at halftime?
The football governing body, FIFA, preaches fair play every single time, and that (not reason they preach fair play but the fair play itself) is one of the reasons teams are allowed to switch sides.
Soccer teams switch sides for quite a few reasons, but it’s all in a bid to ensure that none of the two teams enjoys a sporting advantage that the pitch surface, weather, or stadium location may give throughout the game.
Soccer stadiums and pitches all have specific requirements, but there is a limit to the financial capabilities of countries, and even club sides can build a stadium that cannot be affected by weather conditions or even keep the pitch in perfect conditions.
Weather conditions like wind and Sun can put a team at a disadvantage while the other at an advantage.
Wind can make attacking a side of the pitch difficult to attack and score if the wind is blowing in the opposite direction.
Making passes, striking a shot, and running toward that end may prove problematic and tiring, especially as the ball movement will be greatly impacted.
The same thing can be said for Sunshine which may affect the visibility of opposing players or goalkeepers.
On a rainy day, a particular side of the pitch may be muddy compared to the other side which may also make striking out a goal difficult as a waterlogged or muddy pitch would not allow the football to move well.
No team will feel disadvantaged or sabotaged by these things if both teams use each side of the pitch.
Furthermore, it is sometimes debatable, but some pitches may have defects on one side or the other, and some can sometimes be sloppy, especially if you’re playing on a pitch of a team that does not have the financial strength to maintain its playing surface.
Switching sides will ensure that neither side enjoys an undue advantage in such a situation.
The last reason teams are allowed to switch sides at halftime is due to fans’ pressure.
It is normal to notice that supporters are usually placed behind each goalpost, which may put the opposing goalkeeper under pressure, especially if the rival team’s fans are behind his goalposts.
Switching sides would allow each goalkeeper to enjoy and experience fan support and opposing fans’ pressure.
Soccer teams change sides for sportsmanship reasons and for equal advantage. The reasons can be itemized as follows:
1: Weather Conditions
2: Pitch defects
3: Fans Experience.
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