BRING IN SIN BINS TO SPARE THE FANS
IF Serena Williams aimed a verbal volley at the umpire or smashed a racquet, she’d lose a point, then a game.
If Lewis Hamilton blocked another driver, he’d be handed a time penalty, deducted a few grid places or forced to start from the pit lane.
The point? Football is pretty much the only sport which disqualifies its participants for piddling misdemeanours.
According to former referee Dermot Gallagher, five of last weekend’s top-flight red cards were correct. So what? They still wrecked the spectacle.
Few sights are more depressing than the moment after an early dismissal when the subs board is held aloft. Off goes the winger. On comes the clunking utility man. One up top, defend for your life. Does anybody want to sit through that?
Football may be a business, but it’s also an entertainment industry. If I’ve paid north of £150 to take my family to a game, I want to see 22 players going hammer and tongs. And I want the bloke in black doing his utmost to ensure it.
Right now, his hands are tied. As pundits never tire of telling us, that’s the letter of the Law. In which case, the Law needs changing.
Let’s copy rugby and have a sin bin.
Two yellow cards? Ten minutes in the bin and no substitutions allowed. A cheeky slap to the chops a la Ibrahim Afellay? Make it 20.
If that’s complicated, just have a straight 15 minutes for everything bar dangerous play. Either way, it’s got to be better than spoiling a perfectly good game.
REF: Dermot Gallagher