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Sin-bin trial plan recommended for professional games



Plans for football to introduce 10-minute sin-bins for cynical fouls and dissent have been recommended for trialling in the professional game.

The game’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), said it will “identify which levels are best to test”.

The trial will also include a rule allowing only the team captain to approach the referee during a game.

Sin-bins have been trialled at grassroots level since 2019.

The proposals were announced at an Ifab meeting in London on Tuesday and are subject to approval at their Annual General Meeting in March 2024.

Former referee Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the Fifa referees committee who sits on the governing body’s technical subcommittee, said the proposed trials would “very probably” involve professional football.

Ifab secretary Lukas Brud said one of the next steps was to identify the appropriate competition where the trials could take place.

“Over the next weeks and months we are going to identify which levels are best to test.

“I’m hoping in the next few months we will have clarity about which competitions will want to trial this as well.

“It’s up to them, competition organisers, to decide whether they want to participate in those trials or not.

“I think it is important to understand that something big like this, and a big decision like that, has to be considered thoroughly when creating protocols and setting up the system to trial it.”

Trials on sin-bins for tactical fouling under consideration

Sin-bins were piloted in 2018-19 and led to the Football Association reporting a 38% total reduction in dissent across 31 leagues.

They were then introduced across all levels of grassroots football from the 2019-20 season in an attempt to to improve levels of respect and fair play.

The rule change was then implemented up to step five of the National League system and tier three and below in women’s football.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, a member of the Ifab board, indicated sin-bins for tactical fouls could also be considered in the future.

“I think [there is] frustration for fans watching games when they see a promising counter-attack that’s ruined by that [a tactical foul],” Bullingham said.

“The question of whether a yellow card is sufficient for that has led to us looking at whether that should be involved in the protocol as well.

“The starting point was looking at player behaviour and dissent – we’re then looking at whether we should extend it into other areas, such as tactical fouls, as well.”

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