IFAB to start ‘sin bins’ trial in top FIFA leagues for disrespecting referees

IFAB to start ‘sin bins’ trial in top FIFA leagues for disrespecting referees

Players could be sent out of the field for 10 minutes during a match as punishment for dissent.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) recently held their Annual Business Meeting (ABM) where they discussed various issues. It seems the main focus of the meeting was to solve players’ and coaches’ dissent from the referees on the field. This sometimes can cause disrespectful actions and even violence at times. Apparently, IFAB have already trialled the execution of ‘sin bins’ in grassroots football and it was a huge success. They have reported that they will now begin the trial at higher levels.

There were discussions on introducing a new ‘sin bin’ rule for players causing trouble due to dissent from the referees. It seems the trial for the introduction of the rule could start soon in top-flight competitions around the world. 

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IFAB held their Annual Business Meeting in London on the 28th of November. They talked about the new ‘sin bin’ rule, rules to reduce time loss on the field, new rule for announcing VAR decisions aloud, and more. They’ve trialled a few things already at the grassroots level.

They especially trialled the rugby-style ‘sin bin’ rule at that level. Following that, they said they’ve seen great success. Reportedly, the disrespectful players could be temporarily removed for 10 minutes. As per the new rule, only the captain may approach the referee in certain important situations. 

IFAB released a statement following the end of their Annual Business Meeting. The statement read, “Following the recommendations made in October by The IFAB’s Football and Technical Advisory Panels, the ABM supported a proposed trial whereby only the team captain may approach the referee in certain major game situations.”

It further read, “In addition, it was agreed that temporary dismissals (sin bins) for dissent and specific tactical offences should be trialled at higher levels, following their successful implementation in grassroots football. Protocols and a system for trialling will now be developed.” 

It’s not sure what competitions they mean by ‘higher levels’. It seems unlikely that any of the top 5 European leagues will be selected at this early stage of the trial. However, if successful, the rule can be expected to be seen in all top-flight competitions around the world.

It’s clear that IFAB are looking to strengthen the rules. Especially the ones that exist against the players and coaches that disrespect the referees during the games. Sometimes it can even lead to violence that can put the referees’ lives in danger. 

IFAB will look to start trials for sin bins in football in high-level FIFA leagues where players will be temporarily punished for dissent

During their match against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League last weekend, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk was sent off for dissent. He became the first player to be sent off for such a reason for the first time since 2011 in the Premier League.

Other than that, they also discussed becoming stricter with the rules to reduce the amount of time wasted on the ground during games. They have also trialled announcing the final decision made by VAR in various FIFA competitions in the last year including the Women’s World Cup. 

This ABM is important as it shapes the Annual General Meeting (AGM) that will be held on March 2 next year. Any necessary changes to the laws will be considered for approval in the AGM. The approved changes will then be incorporated from the 1st of July next year into the Laws of the Game.


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