The radical change football needs to make

Joshua Byers

Surprise, surprise, folks: It has been announced that, for the umpteenth time, the possibility of introducing sin bins in football is to be discussed.

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Like the dreaded delve into politics at a family dinner, there is obviously nothing to be gained from the discussion. Nobody will ever agree and the only consequence will be that a few people over at the IFAB will be giving each other evil stares for a while. What if such a radical step was taken, though? Would it improve the game?

In terms of overused phrases within football, “Well, take a look at rugby…” is right up there with “It was a game of two halves” and “He certainly knows where the goal is (no kidding)”. This rugby reference is normally made by somebody who has never watched a full 80 minutes and is praying not to be asked anything about the sport following the blind observation, but annoyingly there is some credence to statement.

Sin binning was first introduced to rugby league in 1981, with union following suit 20 years later. The rule has been an unmitigated success, with players a lot less at ease with the idea of their side being down to 12 or 14 men for 10 minutes than if a man were to inanely wave a piece of yellow laminated paper at him.

If referees in football were to pull out their yellows at the first sight of a foul, an argument could be made to say that 10 minutes out of action might be harsh. The fact is, though, officials normally provide players with several warnings before giving them yet another in the form of a relatively meaningless yellow card. Only a very poor tackle results in a yellow card without a prior warning, in which case surely some time in the bin is deserved anyway.

Certainly, Arsene Wenger’s complaints about “dark yellow” cards would be eliminated. The Frenchman was probably right to say that Granit Xhaka did not deserve a red for his foul against Swansea in October. It would also have been harsh on Swansea if Xhaka had been given a yellow before cooling down his game and facing no consequences. The solution? A sin bin. Very straightforward.

Imagine too, some of the fouls committed by Marcos Rojo so far this year. In truth, at least two of these have deserved straight red cards anyway, but to receive no punishment whatsoever? At least opposition fans would have felt some sense of justice, with the Argentine forced to take ten minutes out, a break he could surely use to plan his next assault. Everybody wins.

The introduction of a sin bin could also cut out time wasting and abusing referees. These are misdemeanours that no ref, understandably, has the balls to issue a straight red for. But many players are quite happy to take a yellow either for the sake of wasting a few minutes or to vent their psychotic rage onto an innocent man trying to do his job in a high-pressure environment. The sin bin could be the solution.

So then, let’s give it a chance. Ignoring the enormous blip that was 2016, society has been in a constant state of evolution for quite a while now – it’s about time football joined in more thoroughly with regard to updating its archaic rules.

The truth is, it’s pathetic it has come to this, though! You think with the amount each of the Premier League clubs’ top earners takes home, they’d have a bit of respect for the ref and the rules!

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