Paul Merson fears ‘the game will be killed’ as football prepares for huge rule change

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PAUL MERSON has slammed the potential introduction of sin-bins to football.

It was revealed yesterday that blue cards could be brought into the game.

@SkySportsNewsPaul Merson thinks sin-bins will ruin football[/caption]

GettyBlue cards could be introduced[/caption]

Players on the receiving end will have to spend ten minutes off the pitch if they are guilty of committing a cynical foul or dissent towards an official.

All offences are currently punished with a yellow and similarly to a current booking, two blue cards for a player will mean they are sent off.

Former England international Paul Merson has been highly critical of the controversial proposal that could be tested in the FA Trophy and Vase competitions next season.

The Sky Sports pundit said: “They’re trying to copy rugby, they are very good at it, they’ve been working on it for a long time.

“But their sin-bin is massive, you’re talking seven to ten points, the game opens up – it’s very rare you are not going to get majorly punished.

“In football, you just sit ten behind the ball and the game will be killed.

“The ball will go out and they’ll jog and get it, they’ll waste time.

“Then someone else will be sin-binned and everybody will be looking at the scoreboard going: ‘Tom is coming back on in four, so and so is back in three, what will be then? Then we will be 10 vs 10.’

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“That’s how it’s going to be. That’s not football. They’re ruining the game.

“It doesn’t have to be changed that much, we are talking about the greatest sport in the world and you’re trying to change it.”

“10 vs 11 doesn’t always work. It kills the game sometimes.”

Merson claims the footie law makers at Ifab are focusing on clamping down on the wrong offence.

He continued: “It’s when people are cheating that’s what we’ve got to stop – that’s what they’re not looking at.

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“Nowadays people are going over and if they go over and don’t get a penalty it doesn’t matter.

“But they might as well try with the people upstairs, who haven’t got a clue, let’s be honest, they haven’t got a clue.

“So why wouldn’t you chance your arm?”

There are no plans at this stage to implement sin-bins in next season’s major competitions.

Ifab have also discussed other four other major rule changes.

Time-wasting goalkeepers could have a corner given against them and matches could be stopped after flare-ups for “cooling off periods”.

Meanwhile, defending players may now get a straight red card for any deliberate handballs in the box.

And only the team captain is allowed to approach the referee to protest a decision.

Blue it

By Martin Lipton

IT’S a sin for football to allow cynical cheats to get away with it.

So introducing ten-minute sin-bins would be a big step forward for the game.

In truth, it does not matter what card the referee shows – blue, green or pink.

What matters is that, if the trial – which will not include the Prem or EFL at this stage – is a success, then it could become part of top tier professional football by the end of the decade.

The argument is simple: Nobody likes what Fifa refs’ chief Pierluigi Collina describes as “anti-football action”.

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That is a deliberate, cynical act to stop a potential break by fouling a rival with absolutely no attempt to play the ball.

If teams who do that have to spend the last 10 minutes of a game a man short, they could pay a real price, rather than just picking up a yellow card and “taking one for the team”.

Sin bins for dissent might be a tougher argument to progress, although it might just give refs some respect back.

But having players sat by the side of the pitch, powerless as their man-short side concedes a last-gasp winner, might actually change the way players behave. And it will be a statement of intent.

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