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To eliminate objections - Always have respect Vol.132

27 May 2024

To eliminate objections - Always have respect Vol.132

Changes to the Laws of the Game are not made on the spur of the moment. The International Football Association Board (IFAB), an organisation outside FIFA, decides on changes to the Laws of the Game. Major rule changes are usually subject to an “official trial period” of several years, during which they are tested in various leagues, including youth leagues, before being fully adopted. However, there is one idea that has been tested for seven to eight years now: the use of “temporary dismissals (sin bins),” which was approved for testing at the 2017 IFAB Annual General Meeting.

This system has been used in ice hockey for a long time and has been adopted in rugby in recent years. In football, it falls somewhere between a yellow card and a red card, so in other words, it is something like an “orange card.”

However, some countries are using this system in a very different way to enhance the value of football. One example is the English Football Association (The FA).

Once official testing was approved in 2017, the use of sin bins was introduced at a number of grassroots competitions in England. The sole purpose of this was to eliminate objections to the referees.

Originally, a referee is a person whom both teams ask to officiate a match to ensure a fair game. They are human, so of course they will make mistakes. However, if you go back to the roots and consider that they are “doing us a favour,” everyone can see that it is unfair to object to their decisions. Because players are also human, there are moments when they second guess the referee’s decision, but as a footballer, the right thing to do is to immediately follow the referee's decision.

In recent years, however, it has become very common for players to protest vehemently or persistently against a decision, or to show their dissatisfaction through their actions or gestures. According to one survey, a quarter of all yellow cards are the result of such objections.

So The FA decided to take part in the IFAB’s official trial by introducing a 10-minute dismissal (eight minutes in an 80-minute match) for a yellow card for dissent into all the weekend tournaments for men and women of all ages.

The aim of this dismissal is to calm them down and give them time to think. Players who are ordered to leave the pitch may return to their bench, talk to their manager or coach, and return to play after 10 minutes.

While rugby's sin bin is a punishment for offences and infringements “more serious than a yellow card but less serious than a red card,” the FA's version seems to have a more educational purpose.

Because of the “temporary dismissal,” a player will not be sent off even if he/she receives another yellow card during the rest of the match.

The FA has recognised the damage that objections against referees are doing to the game and has been working hard to eliminate them by any means necessary. Protecting referees and safeguarding the game was the main aim of the association's first-in-the-world “Respect Programme.”

The results of the FA’s trial, which began with approval of the IFBA, were astonishing. To the surprise of many, there was a 38 per cent reduction in the number of yellow cards for dissent in the competitions involved. And many of the players, coaches and referees who took part in the survey said the system should be officially introduced.

The name “Sin Bin” sounds a bit harsh, but when I read the explanation of this system on the FA website, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with an appropriate name for it and try to get Japan involved in the official IFAB trial.

Written by OSUMI Yoshiyuki (Football Journalist)

*This article was originally posted on the Japan Football Association Newsletter, “JFAnews,” April 2024 edition.

Japan Football Association Newsletter “JFAnews”

The Japan Football Association Newsletter “JFAnews” contains all the information on the Japan National Team, events hosted by JFA, tournament results, and team information throughout the nation. The official monthly magazine is a must read for coaches, referees, and all members of the football family.

For information on the newest edition (Japanese website)

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