Uefa president Michel Platini’s support for the sin-bin rule to be applied in football has brought about the question of whether the beautiful game is going through too many changes.
The Frenchman has said that players should be shown a white card and be sent to sit out of the game for ten minutes if they protest excessively to the referee, as is done in both forms of rugby.
Rugby has long been deemed a more respectable game than football and disrespect towards the referee often puts people off watching the sport, so it’s easy to see the benefits it may have, but is football being messed with too much?
Daniel Fletcher, a Preston North End fan, said: “It’s probably one of those ideas which is good in theory but most would write it off as too much hassle and changing the game too much.”
To begin with, having another card in the game along with red and yellow surely promises confusion for the referee, the players and the fans. Graeme Poll anyone?
Knowing whether to white card a player or book a player for protesting will be extremely subjective and is likely to worsen the disciplinary inconsistencies in the game that presumably it is trying to put a stop to.
A yellow card for an excessive protest is often given anyway and even if sending the player off for ten minutes could be deemed a more sufficient punishment, there is surely no need for both cards.
Mr Fletcher added: “Understandably it works well in rugby but if it’s being argued as a separate thing to yellow cards then you’d probably want to just merge it into that rather than add an extra disciplinary rule.”
Derby fan Thomas Seabridge said: “Change the beautiful game to be something else and you lose the unique aspect of what you love about the game.”
To add to this, it shouldn’t matter when or where a player commits a professional foul, they should be punished and they should accept the rules behind this punishment.
Using a sin bin when a player has clearly disrespected or abused the referee warrants a sending off not a soft ‘you can come back in a bit, just calm down for a while.’
However, protests are seen much more in football than in any other sport and as all players discover but rarely take on board, their childish moaning doesn’t make any difference to the decision.
A sin bin could discourage players from excessively protesting, often putting a negative spin on the game.
Arsenal fan Sam Dixon said: “These players are role models and should be seen to be punished for behaviour that would not normally be considered acceptable between two adults.”
Using this system could also be effective in other areas such as diving, another unfortunately integral aspect of football that is rarely enjoyed by fans.
Perhaps what needs to be discussed further is what aspects of the game a sin bin should be applied to and where it would be most useful.
Sportmanship, honesty and respect are all traits that should be in practice, but the footballing authorities need to be careful that football remains football and doesn’t lose the unpredictability that makes it the beautiful game.
Main image courtesy of Channel 9 via YouTube, with thanks.