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Sin bins introduced as Norwich Sunday League approaches 60th year

Riverside Rovers won their fourth successive Premier Division title in the Norwich & District Sunday League in 2018. Picture: Ben Casey

Riverside Rovers won their fourth successive Premier Division title in the Norwich & District Sunday League in 2018. Picture: Ben Casey

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The Norwich and District Sunday League will be made up of five divisions and feature sin bins next season, as the league closes on its landmark 60th year.

The under-19 league added two years ago has fallen by the wayside so the NDSL will feature five divisions of 13 teams during 2018-19, it was confirmed at the league’s annual meeting, at Open Academy in Heartsease.

“From the AGM last year until the season’s end we lost 16 clubs and again I state that it was down to player commitment,” secretary Ben Casey told club representatives.

“This I find quite sad and a smack in the face to those, who as volunteers, give up their spare time to provide these people with a league or a club to play in.”

The U19 teams who have already renewed have now been invited into the open age group and the league has also decided to continue allowing teams to name five substitutes, to help teams ensure they have enough players on match-days.

Late payment of fines and unfair comments about the league on social media, from behind the anonymity of a club’s account, were among the gripes mentioned by Casey.

The success of the league’s referee appointment system has proved successful though, with over 97pc of games covered, but referees are set for further assistance when the NDSL follows on from the successful trial of sin bins for dissent in the Anglian Combination last season.

“The league has endorsed a request from the FA to allow the use of sin bins,” Casey added. “This has been used successfully in other leagues last season and will be compulsory to all in the 2019-20 season anyway.

“I’m sure most players would prefer 10 minutes in the sin bin as opposed to paying for a yellow card.”

Non-fulfilment of fixtures continues to be a problem, particularly during inclement weather, and some games had to be awarded when a club couldn’t raise a team or when correct procedures were persistently not being followed.

Financial worries were also eased after Macron stepped up to take on the sponsorship of the league, alongside other main sponsor the Norwich Evening News, after Copy IT informed the league they would not continue.

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