Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that UEFA is discussing the potential of introducing sin bins in order to tackle what he described as the "disease" of diving in the game.
The 72-year-old was hosting the annual UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon, Switzerland—attended by, among others, Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho—where various aspects of the European game were discussed.
Ferguson specifically highlighted simulation as a key topic, saying it had been discussed extensively, with the governing body looking into how to deal with it most effectively, per Goal.com:
We couldn't get to an agreement about it because it's such a controversial decision to change from what we know to a sin bin, but there was a good discussion about it. From Uefa's point of view, it's something that they're looking at. It has some merits - in particular simulation by a player which has become a disease within the game.
Currently, the rules stipulate that diving should be punished by issuing a yellow card for attempting to deceive the referee.
However, this has largely proved ineffective as a deterrent with simulation still worryingly prevalent throughout the game.
The introduction of sin bins—used currently in rugby league, union and in ice hockey—may potentially prove more effective as it would reduce a team to 10 men for a period of time, a significant disadvantage.
There is certainly an argument against the introduction of sin bins in football and many maintain that it would simply add an unnecessary further sanction, including Gabriele Marcotti on ESPN FC:
"Good referees do a good job officiating with the tools they already have and the sin bin would actually come in handy for those officials who don’t have the courage to apply the Laws of the Game."
However, the current rules on diving have been ineffective in stamping it out, and there does indeed seem a need to take action, whether that means introducing sin bins or an alternative punishment.
Ferguson also expressed his relief that he is no longer a manager in the Premier League after his former side topped a division-wide splurge in the transfer market, spending £150 million, a change in the policy from the Scot's tenure, per the Daily Mirror's Oliver Holt:
The former Red Devils boss often criticised the previous big spending of clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea, but he believes the culture is here to stay, per Ben Rumsby in the Daily Telegraph:
My opinion is that it’s never going to change, the world is progressing, and transfer fees with it, and I don’t know if there’ll be an end to it. Fortunately, I’m not at the hub of it nowadays. Certainly it’s amazing, the amount of money spent nowadays.
Indeed, new United boss Louis van Gaal does seem to be taking something of a different approach to his predecessor and it remains to be seen whether it will be effective.
While Ferguson is relieved to be out of management he does still have a role to play within the wider footballing world and presided over the cream of the management crop in Nyon.
As he mentioned, the top coaches present were split over the use of sin bins, making its eventual introduction far from certain, but there will be many happy to see the diving issue is being discussed at the very top level.