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Is It time for the sin bin?

Blind Hammer looks at whether there is an easier option to deter cynical tactical fouling.

A week ago, I focussed on the cynical tactical fouling which both Manchester City and Liverpool were deploying to support their use of an extreme high press.

I quoted statistics highlighted by the BBC which showed, extraordinarily, both City and Liverpool, on average were only allowing opposing teams 7-8 seconds of possession before committing a foul against them to break up play.

West Ham suffered at the hands of City with their making over half their fouls against West Ham in our half. City also committed over twice as many fouls as West Ham.

City and Liverpool utilise this tactical fouling within seconds of losing possession as their insurance policy to protect their extreme high presses.

Currently, referees are doing nothing to protect teams from this unfair play. The problem is that City in particular coach their players to break up play with minor niggardly fouls during what they describe as transition.

These rarely attract yellow, let alone red cards as these trips, nudges and pulls are not violent, their intention is solely to stop the game to allow their reorganisation into defensive shape.

Last week I suggested that an advancement of a free-kick to the D of the offending team’s penalty area would provide a more effective deterrent.

However, some comments, online and offline, suggested that the use of the “sin bin” system similar to that deployed in other sports would be more effective. My nephew and fellow Hammer Ian Rose explained how such a system is already in place for games in which his teenage son Joseph plays.

Apparently a first offence attracts a sin bin penalty of 8 minutes exclusion from the pitch and coaching staff. A second offence in the second half would attract a yellow card as well as the stay in the “sin bin.”

Two offences within a half would attract a red card.

One of the online comments on my post further suggested that the flow of the game could also be protected. He suggested the VAR referee take responsibility for sin bin offences and simply notifies the on-field referee if they consider a sin bin penalty needs to be applied.

I have therefore become much more interested in the concept of the sin bin. Unlike the yellow card, the punishment is immediate and not deferred. An instant punishment for cynical tactical fouling might well provide the necessary deterrent to prevent teams exploiting foul play to dominate games. It seems on initial consideration to have a lot going for it.

I thought I should put it out there for fellow Hammers to discuss.



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About David Griffith

My Father, born in 1891 was brought up in the shadows of the Thames Ironworks Memorial Ground. I remember as a child jumping over the settee when Alan Sealy scored in our 1965 European Cup Winners triumph. My first game was against Leicester in 1968, when Martin Peters scored what was adjudged by ITV’s Big Match as the Goal of the Season. I became a season ticket holder in 1970. I was registered blind in 1986 and thought my West Ham supporting days were over. However in 2010 I learnt about the fantastic support West Ham offer to Blind and other Disabled Supporters. I now use the Insightful Irons in-stadium commentary service and West Ham provide space for my Guide Dog Nyle. I sit on the West Ham Disabled Supporters Board and the LLDC Built Environment Access Panel. David Griffith aka Blind Hammer

3 comments on “Is It time for the sin bin?

  1. I mentioned the introduction of a sin bin based penalty in response to your previous post & I still believe that the loss of a player is a greater deterrent than a simple free kick.
    Yesterday, Man City’s Laporte suffered an injury in making a blatant body check to break up an attack. I don’t know how serious the injury or how long he will be out, but I doubt very much that Guardiola will change these cynical tactics because of it.

  2. Thanks David, good article/repost.
    I think I commented on the Sin Bin Vs Yellow/Red card discussion before :
    The card system penalises the offending team in the following game, but doesn’t benefit the team being offended. If the penalised team loses the following game due to suspensions, it may be detrimental/punitive to the team who originally were offended against.

    Sin Bin is immediate and hopefully punitive enough to stop Cheating Citeh from benefitting

  3. Agree with the comments good post, I noticed yesterday we have started to make a few of these fouls ourselves, probably learning from City / Liverpool / Arsenal and like Ajay noticed Laporte self induced injury caused by a very physical block to deter the counter attack, not sure 8 minutes is enough would prefer to see 10 or 15 to reinforce it. As for VAR we should have had one penalty possibly more yesterday after Haller was brought down on three seperate occaisions the people in Stockley Park need to get better certainly the one showed on MOTD there was no doubt about it was a blatant foul with no attempt to play the ball, am not sure why it wasn’t given as a penalty.

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