Town skipper gives sin bins red card

BLUES skipper Gareth McAuley has given a red card to the idea of bringing in sin bins.Giving players a blue card, and five minutes on the touchline, has recently been trialled in Italy and one of the items on the FIFA rule-makers' agenda in a summit to be held in Northern Ireland starting this weekend.

By Derek Davis

BLUES skipper Gareth McAuley has given a red card to the idea of bringing in sin bins.

Giving players a blue card, and five minutes on the touchline, has recently been trialled in Italy and one of the items on the FIFA rule-makers' agenda in a summit to be held in Northern Ireland starting this weekend.

Other issues for discussion include extending half-time by five minutes and ensuring players use the same colour tape as their kit.


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Sin bins are already used in both rugby codes and ice hockey but McAuley is not in favour of them being introduced to football.

He said: “I would not be comfortable with that. The yellow and red card system is fine and any more would just complicate things.

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“There is an injury worry so what do you do - jog up and down the touchline? You will get cold being off for 10 minutes or whatever then you come back on.

“I appreciate the game has to develop but I'm not sure if that would improve football. I know it works in rugby but that is a different game altogether.”

Nor would McAuley welcome the extension of the half-time break, which ahs already gone from 10 to 15 minutes but there is pressure to make it 20.

McAuley said: “It is long enough as it is. Any longer and you will start to stiffen up or get cold. We keep moving around most of the time. We sit still while the coaches and gaffer say their bit but then we get our own bits and pieces done.

“If it is not going well then the coaches can make the changes and 10-15 minutes is quite adequate. Any longer and you are cooling down and they will be getting the tactic boards out.”

“For me 20 minutes would be too long. It used to be 10 and that was fine but it was extended. I would not be a fan of that change.

“From a sports science point of view I'm not sure it would be a good thing either.”

Northern Ireland international McAuley also dismissed the issue of what colour tape or tie-ups players are allowed to use as irrelevant.

He said: “It is already an issue in international football. Some of the lads wear tape and the officials want it to be the same colour as the socks. It really doesn't matter it does not affect football in any way.

“It seems like it is keeping someone in a desk job somewhere.”

One law that is already being interpreted differently at international football is contact while waiting for set plays.

McAuley said: “In international football you can't touch anyone or the refs are straight in saying free kick or penalty. They are trying to stamp it out here but it is very rare in domestic football that a referee will give a penalty.”

Another he has seen trialled is how referee ensure players are 10 yards from a free kick.

McAuley said: “The spray in South America that referees pull out to measure 10 yards. I'm not sure if that was a wind up or not but that could be interesting.”

More seriously though is an incentive that has impressed McAuley and that is the Fair Play initiative that means referees communicating more through captains.

He said: “The Fair Play initiative with the referees has gone okay. Dissent from players and silly bookings are down because they are speaking to captains and asking them to have a word with such and such and that has led to an improvement.

“They are working very hard with the players and it seems to be working.”

Football's governing body will discuss these rule changes among others at their AGM starting tomorrow in Northern Ireland.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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