Football is constantly evolving and it has been for so, for years. Tactics have changed styles have changed and if we are brave enough to dig even deeper many rules have changed or seen modifications as well.

Like, there were no officials in the early years of football as a sport! Instead, if a foul was committed, the captains of both teams had to reach a mutual agreement on what the decision would be.

It was only after 1871 that referee even became a thing in football.

Corner-kicks were introduced in 1872, Penalties made their way in 1891, and the world had to wait a further 79 years until yellow and red cards were used in matches!

So, the point we are making is football has always kept evolving, people in charge of decision making, try their best to make the game even better.

The red cards and yellow cards made sure there was a universal language that everyone will understand and that there will be no communications issues due to language barriers.

Now there is an argument on what do you do about fouls that are neither yellow nor red. A foul that is between a yellow and a red may be an offense that deserves an orange card.

But that debate is for some other day.

Today, however, let’s talk about another relevant issue in officiating, and its solution which is in use since the 2019/20 season – the ‘sin bins’ or the official name, ‘Temporary dismissal’,

What are sin bins?

To understand sin bins it’s vital to know what is dissent.

Dissent is defined as a player’s use of foul or derogatory language directed at the referee. Shouting at the referee, criticizing the referee’s skills, slamming the ball into the ground in rage after a decision, and sarcastically clapping a decision are all examples.

Sin bins are 10-minute dismissals issued to a player by the referee as punishment for dissent.

Where are they used?

The temporary dismissal rule is not used in top-flight football, in fact, it’s very far from it.

It is trialed just at Step Seven of the English league pyramid, with Sunday League and both men’s and women’s youth football also being part of it.

The goal as mentioned before is to limit the amount of abuse that officials in lower levels of English football get, with players being made aware that they may be forced to leave the pitch for 10 minutes to ‘cool down’ if referees feel they are becoming too rowdy.

So, the implementation of this rule is only at a grassroots level. At least as of now!

How do they work?

The referee will designate sin bins by flashing a yellow card and clearly gesturing to the sidelines with both arms. For 90-minute matches, this results in a 10-minute departure from the pitch, in which time the player is forbidden to be substituted or involved in the game in any manner.

They will not replace conventional yellow and red cards, and cautions and warnings for unsporting behavior as well as foul play will continue.

Should a player receive a second sin bin in a match, it will result in the player in question being dismissed for an additional 10 minutes – for a 20-minute total – after which they will not be allowed to re-join the match.

They can, however, be substituted if the team has enough available substitutions remaining.

What are the results so far?

Sin bins have been implemented in order to lessen the amount of dissent that happens on the pitch, and the feedback on the rule has been quite positive ever since it has been put to use.

25 of the grassroots leagues had said that they saw an overall decrease in dissent, with 84% of referees, 77% of managers, and 72% of coaches in favor of having it introduced permanently.

Referees face a significant amount of dissent, and there are few safeguards in place to protect them. This new rule may be the solution to that problem; however, whether it will be adopted in the higher divisions or not only time will tell.

Until then you can enjoy the Premier League every weekend as Manchester City and Liverpool are yet again at each other’s throats for the ultimate glory in English football – the Premier League title!

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