So, what exactly is happening?
Sin bins will be issued at the discretion of referees as punishment for dissent, and will apply to all levels of grassroots football, including youth, veterans and disability. For 90 minute games, a player will be sin-binned for ten minutes, and for shorter games it will be eight minutes.
- 25 of 31 trial leagues showed an overall reduction in dissent
- A 38% total reduction in dissent across all leagues
- 72% of players, 77% of managers/coaches, and 84% of referees wanted to continue after the trial
We piloted sin bins across 31 leagues during the last two seasons as part of our commitment to improve the match day experience for all and the new rule change will be used up to Step 5 of the National League System and Tier 3 and below in women's football.
And after positive feedback from players, referees and coaches, we’ll now roll out sin bins in a bid to increase participation and to continue improving match day experiences for all.
How will it work?
Sin bins will be indicated by the referee showing a yellow card and clearly pointing with both arms to the side lines. This will result in a ten-minute dismissal from the pitch during which time the player is not allowed to be substituted or involved in the game in any way.
Unlike cautions, which will continue to be issued for unsporting behaviour and foul play, players will not be required to pay the £10 administration fee for temporary dismissals.
A second temporary dismissal in a match will result in the offending player being dismissed for a further ten minutes, after which they may not re-join the match, but may then be substituted if the team has substitutions remaining.
County FAs will offer training to referees while all participating club secretaries and players will receive a guide.
What do the players think?
“I initially thought it was going to be a nightmare and that players would be in the sin bin every week. But players quickly got used to it and, as the season went on, everybody respected the rules more and players have learnt not to react in a disrespectful way towards officials and others on and around the pitch.”
Mason Newman, Great Shelford, Kershaw Premier League
“The introduction of sin bins has been great and it definitely makes players think twice before overreacting to decisions or arguing with officials. It increases the respect between everybody involved and that can only be a positive.”
Jon White, Beckenham Manor, Orpington & Bromley Division Two
Any thoughts from the sidelines?
“I’m pleased to see the introduction of sin bins, anything to try and improve the atmosphere around grassroots football and especially to avoid the abuse of referees. I felt it had a positive impact in the matches I took a part in. My own team tended to only have a few players likely to chat to the referee, but it allowed me to instruct my own players that if they were sin binned, then after the ten minutes were up I would substitute them for the remainder of the game. As a result, we did not have a single yellow card for dissent – therefore it must have done something good. I would say nearly every manager has welcomed the introduction of sin bins, and I found that in general the atmosphere of the vast majority of games was improved. Referees have a near impossible job that I would not personally do, so if initiatives like sin bins ensure they stay in the game, it’s good with me.”
Benjamin Costello, manager-coach, Easingwold Town AFC U19s, York & District FA
Nobody should go to football and get abused, be it a player, official, coach or spectator.- Benjamin Costello, U19 manager, Easingwold Town AFC
“For me, sin bins can only be a success as it reiterates the importance of self-discipline for the good of the team. Putting an individual in the sin bin for dissent, rather than giving a yellow card, has a much greater effect as it makes them consider the impact it’s having on their teammates."
Dean Garlick, manager, Bexley United in the Orpington & Bromley Division One
And how do referees feel it has helped?
“I haven’t had any issues when putting players into the sin bin and the respect from players and managers towards the referee has certainly increased. When in the sin bin players tend to realise they’ve let their team down and it improves their behaviour for future matches.”
Liberatore di Cesare, Kent County League, Southern Counties East FL, Inner London County Schools FA
“Sin bins have been a brilliant addition to match control and the reaction has been fantastic. Talking to players and explaining the rules so that they don’t offend again in the same game is always positive. It increases credibility to referees, gives more respect and shows fair play by the FA by not implementing a fine for the first offence.”
Mike Sullivan, various leagues
“The impact has been very positive and it can only be a good thing that it’s being rolled out more widely. Players are now more reluctant to give abuse for fear of leaving teammates short for 10 minutes, while managers are supportive. I’ve only actioned two sin bins and the players’ responses were that it was deserved and will keep them quiet in future.”
John Ryan, Orpington & Bromley District Sunday League
Find out more about the introduction of sin bins including FAQs or see how you might fare under the new rules with our interactive video simulator above!FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL