By Dave Woods

8th Oct, 2019 | 3:00pm

Michael Owen delivers verdict after Bamford Millwall v Leeds incident

Michael Owen has said that the authorities need to “scrap” the rule that asks players to leave the pitch at the nearest point to save time during substitutions, after an incident involving Leeds striker Patrick Bamford. 

He said that the current rule was “asking for trouble” in response to a story about Bamford being spat on by a Millwall fan after being subbed in the 62nd minute of the game on Saturday.

Referees have since been told to use common sense in games but Owen just tweeted, “Why don’t we use even more common sense and just scrap the rule?”

Owen was challenged by a fan who said, “So you’d rather a player on the other end of the pitch takes a solid two minutes to go off in the 85th minute to protect a 1-0 lead?”

He made a very good point by way of response: “The referee should stop the watch during a substitution. Time wasting doesn’t come into it. There is no valid reason to force players to walk a gauntlet of abuse. The safety of everybody in the stadium should be priority.”

The abuse that players get is just one reason why the new rule should be scrapped.

We’ve seen matches with players walking round the edge of the pitch with no bib on after being substituted, and they could easily be mistaken for still being on the pitch.

Owen is right. It’s a rule that’s been tried but it doesn’t add anything and it potentially causes a risk to players. Players should just leave the pitch as quickly as possible and refs should make it clear that the watch has been stopped to avoid time-wasting.

In other Leeds news, Sam Allardyce: Bielsa has got a reputation for one thing at Leeds