The Football Association will trial the use of sin bins in dozens of grassroots football leagues across England next season.
The voluntary trial is open to any adult or youth league that wishes to take part, with more than 60 already lined up to pilot the scheme during the 2017-18 campaign.
The temporary dismissals will be restricted to cautions for dissent only, with players found guilty sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes in open age football. This period will be reduced accordingly for youth matches.
With dissent currently accounting for one in four cautions at grassroots level, the FA wants this new rule change to focus purely on improving behaviour.
Rather than the traditional yellow card and £10 fine that currently follows a booking for dissent, players will receive an immediate on-the-pitch sanction.
By penalising offences during the game, the FA hopes that players and coaches will clamp down on their own team mates’ bad behaviour so that they aren’t forced to cope with temporarily losing a player.
Whilst the usual £10 administration fee will no longer be applied, referees will still record and report incidents to enable repeat offenders to be monitored and Respect sanctioning to continue.
A recent poll of over 4,000 Club Website members found that half (50%) believed that behaviour towards referees in grassroots football is getting worse. 19% believed it is getting better, whilst 31% felt there had been no recent change.
Sin bins were first introduced to small-sided football in 2008, when the FA scrapped yellow cards and replaced them with new blue cards – indicating a ‘timed suspension’.
At that time, half of the grassroots football community were in favour of a similar move for the 11-a-side game.
It has taken almost a decade for such a change to happen but the FA were given the green light for the trial in February when the game’s lawmakers, IFAB, allowed national associations to introduce sin bins at grassroots level.
Whilst no plans have been announced beyond the upcoming trial, if it is successful the use of sin bins could be extended to punish a broader range of offences or rolled out wider across the game, pending IFAB approval.
All grassroots leagues and County FAs across England have this week been sent full details on the sin bin pilot scheme, which invites any league at Step 7 of the National League System or lower to take part in the 2017-18 season.
Leagues wishing to register their interest should contact their local County FA by Friday 20 May.
Poll: Do you agree with the FA’s trial of sin bins for dissent in grassroots football?
Tell us what you think of the sin bin trial – have your say in the comments section below.
Club Website teams and league members can also cast your vote via your club/league website.