“Proceed with caution,” cautions Exeter’s Rob Baxter to the football community regarding the implementation of the sin-bin trial.
Rob Baxter, director of Exeter rugby, has cautioned the decision-makers in football to proceed with caution after they approved a trial of sin-bins at more competitive levels of the sport.
Ifab, the International Football Association Board, has approved the adoption of sin-bins in football after seeing their success in lower-level matches. This decision was made at Ifab’s yearly business meeting and will allow for temporary removal of players for offenses such as dissent and tactical fouls. The use of sin-bins has been prevalent in rugby for over two decades, and it is now being implemented in all levels of grassroots football starting from the 2019-20 season. This change aims to promote higher levels of sportsmanship and fairness in the game.
“I must admit, I am quite taken aback by the decision of football to implement this,” stated Baxter, a highly esteemed figure in English football. “When VAR was introduced in football, it came as a surprise to me and I don’t think they fully considered the consequences. As a sport, we tend to interfere too much and rugby is guilty of this the most. We have now recognized the need for less TMO involvement, as even the international game is advocating for it.”
The general consensus among commentators and former professional football players is that there should be less interference from VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in games. And if there is any interference, it should be resolved quickly and the audience should be informed of the reason behind it. Currently, VAR is causing chaos in important matches. Once the process begins, it becomes difficult to make changes to it. There are constantly making adjustments to it. One of the strengths of football has always been its simplicity in explaining the rules to new fans, and this should continue to be a priority.
“My suggestion to the world of football would be to exercise caution. Do you believe that implementing this measure is truly necessary for improving player conduct? Or do the existing penalties, free-kicks, and yellow cards, which can lead to red cards for a second yellow, already have enough consequences in place to regulate player behavior, but have not been effectively utilized? That is my observation in the realm of football. The necessary sanctions are already in place, so they should be enforced. Just a few instances of player abuse being addressed with yellow cards and removing players from the field can bring about rapid changes. I would strongly advise against introducing such measures without careful consideration.”
Baxter cautioned against the potential risks of hasty solutions and expressed concern about the issues that rugby has faced in this regard. He acknowledged, “We have made the mistake of initiating actions without considering the consequences.” He further questioned, “Do we truly believe these are quick fixes?” The topic of discussion on a recent football radio show was the possibility of eliminating VAR altogether, as there is a dislike for the two-minute delays while a decision is made on a potential handball call.
“We have implemented this rule in rugby and have realized that we have taken it to the extreme. It is important to exercise caution when it comes to the use of cards. When we rely on taking players off the field as a way to control player behavior, there must be careful consideration on when to limit its use. We initially introduced this rule in the appropriate manner as a means to address repeated infractions on the field. This was necessary in rugby to prevent repeated and cynical actions. However, we have now come to understand that constantly removing players from the game is not the ideal way to promote a positive and enjoyable game.”