The International Football Association Board (IFAB) have approved plans to trial the use of ‘sin-bins’ at elite level.
The use of sin-bins – where a player temporarily leaves the pitch for a set amount of time but is able to later return to action – has proven to be effective at grassroots and youth levels.
In a meeting on Tuesday, IFAB threw their support behind recommendations to trial sin-bin punishments at the sport’s highest levels for dissent as well as cynical and tactical fouls. Such offences currently deemed worthy of a proverbial and theoretical ‘orange card’ – a transgression which deserves disciplinary action between the standard yellow and red cards.
IFAB will now begin drawing up regulations fit for the introduction of sin-bins and they could be implemented at Premier League-level by the start of the 2024/25 season.
IFAB director and FA CEO Mark Bullingham said: “When we’re looking at sin-bins, a protocol clearly has to be developed. The areas we were looking at were dissent, where it’s worked very, very well in the grassroots game in England.
“We’ve also spoken about other areas, particularly tactical fouls. I think frustration for fans when they’re watching games when they see a promising counter-attack that’s ruined by that, and 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.
“So, the starting point was really looking at player behaviour and dissent but then looking at whether we should extend it into other areas such as tactical fouls as well.
“If that’s the way the protocol goes then, absolutely, you spend potentially 10 minutes off the pitch as well.
“Some players do commit a foul – I know people call it a tactical foul, cynical foul, professional foul – but a foul that prevents a promising attack and they do it consciously knowing they’re going to get a yellow card, and we think that really breaks up the game. So, would they not do it if they felt there was going to be a sin-bin? And that would be the question. I think with all of these things, success of sin-bins in grassroots game has been prevention, rather than cure. You get to a point where players know the threat of sin-bins and, therefore, don’t transgress. And we would hope that it would make the same change.”
Tuesday’s meeting also IFAB support calls for only team captains to approach referee during ‘major game situations’, while body cameras may be used on officials following successful trials at grassroots level.
Despite reports suggesting otherwise, IFAB members could not come to an agreement on granting further powers to the VAR, such as intervening on the awarding of free-kicks, throw-ins or second yellow cards.
Changes to the game will be definitively voted on and made at IFAB’s next annual general meeting on 2 March 2024.