Paddy Russell: Sin bin better than black card

Paddy Russell believes there is merit in replacing the black card automatic substitution with a sin-bin penalty.

The former inter-county football referee also backs the idea of video evidence being used so as to ensure such decisions are made with the benefit of views from all angles.

Tipperary man Russell accepts some of black cards decision have been “confusing”, remarking Tyrone’s Cathal McShane was unfortunate to be dismissed in last Sunday’s Ulster final.

“It looked like he was protecting himself from being stood on,” he said of McShane making contact with Donegal defender Éamon McGee’s leg.

However, Russell doesn’t believe the black card in its current guise goes far enough to curb cynical play. He was a major supporter of the sin bin and maintains it still is the better option.

“If somebody deliberately pulls down another player in the last couple of minutes it doesn’t make any difference whether he gets sent off or not. His team can still bring on a sub but if the sin bin was in operation they would be down a player. At the moment, the black card isn’t enough of a deterrent.

“When the sin bin was trialled, I thought it worked well. I remember being in charge of a game between Dublin and Mayo in Parnell Park and every player knew the price they would have to pay if they committed such a foul. It led to a great free-flowing game. Fellas might have pulled on a fella’s jersey for a millisecond but only that because they knew if they held it any longer they would be in trouble. To me, the sin bin would be better than the black card.”

To help referees make more accurate black card decisions, Russell supports the national referees panel’s call for the GAA to consider to use of a TV match official in games.

“It’s probably time we had either somebody in the stand or somewhere else who can communicate to the referee via the earpiece. Maybe we have to go down that road because referees don’t always have the best view.

“From most press boxes, you can get a bigger view than the referee whereas on the field you can only blow for what you see and occasionally a player gets in the way of you being able to make a call.”


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