Football will be expanding the use of sin-bins, as part of a set of actions aimed at assisting in the protection of referees from mistreatment.
The governing body for football rules, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), declared on Tuesday that sin-bins will be implemented at “upper levels” following successful trials in grassroots leagues. They also approved a second round of tests where only team captains can communicate with the referee during critical moments.
Revisions were declared following Ifab’s yearly business gathering and are a reaction to a significant increase in protests in men’s soccer. Based on data from the referee organization PGMOL, the number of protests in the professional English soccer league has nearly doubled from the previous season, reaching 347 compared to 165 at this time last year.
Temporary dismissals, also known as sin-bins, have been tested in English soccer starting from the 2019-20 season, with 31 local leagues participating. This disciplinary measure is used as a consequence for showing dissent, resulting in a player receiving a yellow card and being taken off the field for 10 minutes. The trials were well-received by coaches and referees, with the Football Association reporting a significant 38% decrease in instances of dissent.
The decision on whether the proposed trials will reach the same level as the Premier League has not been determined. More information is expected to be announced at the Ifab AGM in Glasgow in March. Competitions may also choose to test a process where team captains act as the sole communicator with the referee, and there is interest from English football in this idea. The efforts to address dissent have been increased in the past few months, following comments from chief refereeing officer Howard Webb last summer that the behavior of coaches and players was inadequate. The Premier League has not yet decided if they will participate in the trials.
The use of VAR was discussed during the Ifab meeting. They are currently conducting a thorough evaluation of the system to see how it can be enhanced. PGMOL has suggested that they review the option of allowing VARs to change their decisions within a certain time frame, which could have avoided the contentious decision to disallow a valid goal in Liverpool’s match against Tottenham this year.
There were also reports indicating the potential for expanding the use of VAR, potentially to evaluate the accuracy of corner calls or the issuing of yellow cards. This suggestion would likely spark much debate, but Ifab emphasized that no modifications would be made that could further delay the game.
The spokesperson stated that the process will include consulting with established football tournaments that have prior experience with utilizing the VAR system. They added that all members reached a consensus that any actions taken should not cause further delays.