Are sin bins on their way to grassroots football?

Sin bins could be introduced to grassroots football as early as next month, with the game’s lawmakers set to discuss the issue at their next annual general meeting on 3 March.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will meet for their 131st AGM at Wembley Stadium, where the agenda will cover temporary dismissals (sin bins) and the possibility of allowing only captains to talk to the referee, amongst other potential revisions to the Laws of the Game.

Any changes agreed by the board are expected to be implemented at grassroots level, including youth, veterans and disability football, for a trial period which, if successful, could lead to a rollout across all levels of the game.

Sin bins have been trialled in UEFA development competitions in the last three years and were last month proposed by FIFA technical director Marco van Basten as a way of improving the game.

The former Dutch international suggested that sin bins could provide a middle ground between yellow and red cards, saying:

“Maybe an orange card could be shown that sees a player go out of the game for 10 minutes for incidents that are not heavy enough for a red card.”

The IFAB AGM will discuss the ‘Modifications’ section of the Laws of the Game in a bid to allow national associations more freedom and responsibility to modify existing ‘organisational Laws’ – such as the number of substitutions or length of play – to help develop domestic grassroots football and encourage more people to take part in the game.

These modifications will include “the proposal to allow temporary dismissals (sin bins) in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football for yellow card offences”, according to an IFAB statement.

Sin bins were introduced to the laws of rugby union in 2000 and have been widely acknowledged to have improved the game, helping to clamp down on cynical and dangerous play.

Rugby referees have also traditionally sought discussion with the captain above other players on the field in a bid to maintain discipline, something which the IFAB appear to be considering for football.

“Particular focus will be given to the role of the captain and how her/his responsibilities could be enhanced as part of a move to improve on-field discipline and create better communication between players and match officials,” reads the statement.

Eight IFAB members – one from the FAs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, along with four FIFA members – vote on all changes to the Laws of the Game, with a majority of six votes required to rubber stamp any amendments.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Eugene O'Leary on February 2, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve never understood how banning a player for their next match, which might be against our biggest rivals, is of any use to my team who the player has committed the offence against. 5-10 minutes in the sin bin, would be a much more effective penalty.

  2. […] the game’s lawmakers, IFAB, changed the Laws of the Game to allow national associations to trial sin bins in March, the FA wasted no time in opening up a trial to grassroots, youth and disability […]

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