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Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten predicts chaos when sin bin law applies to Southern Counties East League for 2019/20 season

Sheppey boss Ernie Batten fears there could be mayhem on the sidelines next season when a new sin bin law is introduced.

The Football Association is to trial a new policy in the Southern Counties East League where players who are booked for dissent will have to leave the field for 10 minutes.

But with no fourth officials to help police the sin bins, Batten isn’t keen.

Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten Picture: Andy Jones
Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten Picture: Andy Jones

“It’s absolutely crazy,” he said. “There will be mayhem because of it.

“I am not criticising the officials because I wouldn’t do it myself but the ones we get at our level might be young and inexperienced and they’re learning. The ones who are any good get moved up quickly.

“They have enough to do and now they are going to have to be determining what is dissent and I can see teams using it as another tactic to use against the opposition.

“It’s my pet hate and I don’t know if it’s influenced by what goes on in the Premier League but there are a lot of teams who intimidate others to get a reaction. Every decision is contested and they try and influence the referee.

“I don’t allow my players to do it but we have been involved in situations where we’ve done nothing wrong but the opposition get around the referee and he caves in.

“I can see players trying to provoke others to get a reaction and then they will be off the field for 10 minutes.

“I don’t agree with the idea. It’s crazy and I feel sorry for the linesman on that side of the pitch (near the dugouts).

“We’ll have to see how it goes but I can see games descending into madness.”

Sin bins were first introduced at the grassroots level of the game from 2017/18 and have been used in the Kent County League this season.

The FA’s initial plan was that the trial would be extended to all football from step seven and below for the 2019/20 campaign but have now decided that sin bins will be at all football from step five next season – which includes both divisions of the Southern Counties East League.

Batten’s men are back in action this Saturday as they host Glebe after a week off.

Injuries and unavailability have weakened Batten’s defensive options in recent weeks and they’ve conceded nine goals in the last two games.

Luke Girt is expected to be back this week, however, while Kiki Oshilaja, Emmanuel Fernandez and Miguel Scarlett could all be fit again.

“We will be looking to be a lot tighter,” said Batten. “We’ve got to be more solid but it will be tough.

“Peter Sweeney has gone back in there as manager and he wants the job next season. They drew against Corinthian (in their last game) and beat AFC Croydon 4-0 the week before. It will be a really hard game.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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