The English Football Association has issued new guidance on disciplinary measures to be employed in small-sided football.
The traditional yellow card caution has been scrapped and replaced by a blue card "sin-bin" where a player is requested to leave the field for a short period of time.
The full guidance is as follows:
Guidance on the issuing of cautions and introduction of "timed suspensions"
In small-sided football yellow cards and associated cautions are no longer employed.
Referees should instead employ a blue card for a cautionable offence. The issuing of a blue card indicates that the recipient will serve an immediate "timed suspension"(sin bin).
The options for disciplining offenders are therefore as follows:
- Player shown a blue card and temporarily suspended from play.
- Player issued with a discretionary second blue card and temporarily excluded from play.
Referees should consider the use of the discretionary blue card for the technical offences shown within Law 12 of the Small Sided Laws i.e. C2 Dissent, C4 Delays the restart, C5 Fails to respect the required distance, C6 Enters or re-enter the filed without the referees permission and C7 Leaves the field without the referees permission.
The penal offences covered by C1 Unsporting Behaviour and C3 Persistently infringing the Laws should still be dealt with by the issuing of a second blue card resulting in a red card and permanent dismissal.
- Player issued with a red card and permanently excluded from play.
A blue card offence should always be accompanied by a temporary suspension from play.
The period of timed suspension in Small Sided Football is a recommended two minutes. The release of players from a temporary suspension should be at the direction of the Referee or a Match Official if one is available.
The only exception to the use of the blue card and temporary suspensions is the situation whereby the suspension of a player cannot be monitored as the playing facility - such as an enclosed sports hall or complex of playing cages - does not allow the suspended player to remain adjacent to the pitch and within the eye line of the Match Official.
In such circumstances players should be cautioned with a yellow card and remain on the pitch unless permanently excluded.