Sin Bin Soccer
There’s a myriad of things about football which, once all combined, can only resemble the Beautiful Game and nothing else. But as the trappings of modern culture and the desire to be all things to all people begin to creep in, the makings of the game begin to change one by one.
December 5th, 2013
First we had the switch to all-seater stadiums (which to be fair was absolutely vital in keeping people safe to begin with), then the formation of the Premier League and the beginnings of the money grabbing which are all too frequent today.
Now and then you get an inventive concept which changes the face of football for the better in these changing times. But then again, every now and then one of football’s Old School comes out in favour of an idea so mind-boggling you wonder how they managed to become a face of the game in the first place.
Enter this week: Michel Platini. The boss of UEFA has this week made some suggestions which, once you’ve managed to pick yourself up off the floor from laughing, are genuinely bemusing and befuddling in themselves.
In an interview with a Spanish sports paper Platini advocated the replacement of player suspensions in future games with a sin bin-style punishment which would see them benched for a period of the one game in which the incident(s) occur.
“I would change the system of warnings. I would make it like rugby, punishing the offender with 10 or 15 minutes out of the game. That way, the benefit goes to the team he is playing against, in the same match, instead of a sanction by cards which is carried out against a third team, the next on the calendar”.
Referring to the current rule which sees a player banned for a number of matches after picking up five yellows, he’d rather see the benefits immediately played out on the pitch. My very first question is: would this be fair on the opponents? Absolutely it would be, if the foul were egregious enough. But if it were…then wouldn’t it be a red?
Speaking of reds, Platini also believes that a red card shown to a keeper is too harsh.
“It seems excessive. The penalty is itself already a punishment enough.”
Again, this is something I disagree on. Not every tackle in the box results in a penalty, nor does every penalty awarded result in a goal – some refs will differ on the same situation and need to apply a level of consistency on this. The immediate dismissal of a goalie should serve as a warning not to do it again in future, and is a punishment I believe more than adequate enough on the rest of his team for not defending to a proper standard. The penalty would only be a suitable punishment if the conceding team were forced to offer no resistance to it: a free tap-in rather than a shot which has as much chance of going in as not.
One more thing: cup winners in the Champions League? Sod it, why not: they’re already far beyond betraying that name by allowing non-league champions to enter anyway.