The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

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

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