Allardyce: Scrap Yellow Cards & Introduce Sin-Bins Instead!


by Rob Shepherd.

Sam Allardyce has backed a radical plan to scrap yellow cards and introduce sin bins instead.

The proposal was made by former top official and ex referee’s chief Keith Hackett.

In the wake of a growing crisis of confidence regarding the standard of refereeing, highlighted by Martin Atkinson’s controversial display at Chelsea when he sent of Nemanja Matic after a horror tackle by Ashley Barnes that went unpunished much to the ire of Jose Mourinho, Hackett offered a solution to quell the situation.

Hackett,who has spoken to the LMA about the matter, said: ‘Yellow cards are reducing the interaction between players and referees. Let’s get rid of them

“A referee should be saying ‘I want an improvement on your behaviour, will you do that? If that doesn’t happen, they keep on, then they go to a sin bin. John Duncan (LMA Technical Manager) favours sin-bins.

“It should be tested, perhaps in the Conference.”

Allardyce, who was a guest at You Are The Ref event in London on Thursday night, added his weight of support.

“I think Keith (Hackett) has an interesting idea there to experiment by getting rid of yellow cards and seeing how the introduction of a sin bin would work,” said West Ham boss Allardyce.

“Too often now we see two ‘soft’ yellow cards adding up to a red card when everyone knows the player doesn’t deserve to be sent-off.

“A couple of so-called technical fouls and the player is out of the game and of course that can have a massive impact on the match, especially if it happens early on.

“And only last week at Tottenham I felt I had to substitute Mark Noble in the second half because it seemed he was one more slightly mistimed tackle away from a second yellow.

“People who watch the game don’t really want to see those situations where a team is reduced to ten men for ‘soft’ fouls. Often it can spoil a game. And of course the player who is sent off is then suspended from the following match so there is a further knock-on effect.

“I like Keith’s idea of examining how a sin bin for say 10-15 minutes would work for a player who has totted up what would amount to two yellows.

“It has an immediate impact but for a period of time without affecting the whole match. We have seen it work in rugby so why not give it a go..?

“I am sure there is a way where a no card sin-bin could be used and the referees still retain the ultimate sanction of a sending off in extreme situations”

Hackett added: “The problem we have now is that we have a confetti card culture. Referees are under so much pressure from guidelines as to what constitutes a yellow card. It creates a situation of confrontation rather than one where the referee can manage the game.”

Yellow and red cards were first introduced in the Seventies following a brain wave by Ken Aston, the English referee who officiated at the 1962 World Cup final and controversially had to lead off the Wembley pitch in 1966 when Argentine Antonio Rattin refused to walk after being sent off in the World Cup quarter final against England.

Aston, who by then was a top FIFA official, was stuck at a set of traffic lights when he saw how yellow and red cards would make the issuing of “bookings” and “dismissals” clearer.

But back then yellow cards were seen as a serious sanction – not part and parcel of the game.

Allardyce also backed Hackett’s proposal for more use of video technology.

“I feel video technology for key match decisions should be brought in. I see how it works in other sports so why not football?”

Former top referee Mark Halsey, who was also on the You Are The Ref panel agreed.

“I was one who advocated the introduction of goal line technology for a long time. It has finally come in an so far its worked 100 per cent” said Halsey.

“I feel many referees would welcome the introduction of TV replays for key match decisions especially those in and around the penalty area.”


*Keith Hackett writes a weekly blog at

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