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Idea to ban late substitutes not justified.

Byline: STUART BRENNAN

THE move to ban substitutions in added time is another case of the football authorities wielding a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The proposal, which will go before the game's international law-making body Ifab before a final decision is delivered in March - are aimed at clamping down on time-wasting.

But City showed, when Pep Guardiola sent on Vincent Kompany against Tottenham Hotspur with seconds of normal time remaining, that not all late substitutions are about running down the clock.

Around a quarter of Premier League games see substitutions made after the 90-minute mark, and Ifab's view is they are virtually always time-wasting tactics.

We have all seen it happening, with players handily ensuring they are on the far side of the pitch, so they can slowly trudge back across to the dugout when their number is held up.

Referees were instructed years ago to add 30 seconds for every substitution to reflect the time being wasted, but sometimes the process takes longer than half a minute.

That does need tackling, but banning substitutions altogether is not the answer - how fair would it be to stop the replacement of a player who picked up an injury when the 90 minutes was up? And if that scenario IS allowed, how qualified are referees to decide whether a limping player truly is injured, or is play-acting to enable a tactical change? Not only that, the replacement of David Silva by Kompany at Wembley on Monday night might have looked like a bit of gamesmanship by Guardiola. But it evidently was not. Spurs were trying to stage a grandstand finish. And the decision to send on Kompany was completely justified in the last action of the match, when Spurs were handed a corner by Kyle Walker's nervy header.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Nov 3, 2018
Words:297
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