The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

WATCH­ING As­ton Villa’s meek ca­pit­u­la­tion at the hands of West Ham on Tues­day night, I found my­self won­der­ing why no­body has worked out an al­ter­na­tive to the red card.

Jor­dan Ayew’s dis­missal for an el­bow to the face of Aaron Cress­well was patently jus­ti­fied. But it ru­ined the game as a spec­ta­cle.

An open and en­gag­ing con­test sud­denly be­came a joy­less slog, with one side hang­ing on for dear life and another bat­ter­ing away like Ge­orge Fore­man at the ribs of Muham­mad Ali. As a spec­ta­tor, I want to watch a foot­ball match, not an hour­long train­ing ex­er­cise.

Far bet­ter to have a sin­bin sce­nario, with pun­ish­ments graded from ten min­utes for two soft yel­lows to 45 for all-out as­saults, like Ayew’s. If that’s too ob­vi­ous, how about mak­ing the dis­missed player go in goal for 15 min­utes? Ev­ery fan – home and away – would love that.

For all the clam­our around re­plays and video tech­nol­ogy, chang­ing the red card rule – es­pe­cially for goal­keep­ers – would have a much more pos­i­tive im­pact on the game.

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