IFAB greenlights ‘sin bin’ trials and proposes only captains can approach referees

November 29 – The lawmakers of world football have approved proposed trials whereby only the team captain may approach the referee, and for sin bins to be tested at a higher performance level.

The measures by the International FA Board aim to improve participant behaviour and increase respect for officials.

It was agreed 10-minute sin bins “for dissent and specific tactical offences” should be trialled at higher levels following their successful implementation across 31 leagues in England at grassroots level from the 2019/20 season.

IFAB’s annual business meeting also discussed potential strategies to address time-wasting tactics, including the six-second restriction for goalkeepers, delaying restarts and managing injuries.

It also considered potential clarifications for next season’s laws, including a possible amendment to Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), in which handball offences for penalties would be sanctioned in the same way as fouls.

Tuesday’s meeting in London will shape the agenda for the organisation’s annual general meeting, which will be held on March 2 in Glasgow, where any proposed changes to the laws of the game will be considered for approval.

Implementing so-called sin bins would be one of the biggest rule changes in the sport’s history, and would provide referees with more flexibility to punish players for offenses that are deemed more severe than yellow card offences but less severe than a red.

Board member Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the Football Association, said: “When we were looking at sin bins – 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 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. 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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