Blue Cards & Sin Bins in Football

Blue Cards & Sin Bins in Football

This week the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport’s main lawmaking body were due to announce controversial plans to introduce a blue card into football as part of trials of a new sin-bin system. The IFAB is looking at bringing in these new measures to try to reduce the levels of dissent towards match officials, poor player behaviour and number of cynical fouls across the game.

The announcement has now been delayed until after the IFAB's AGM next month to allow them to be discussed further, however it did remind us about sin bins in the grassroots game. Do you know how they currently work? - Referees Equipment

Referees Equipment

You might be aware that sin bins were actually brought in to all levels of grassroots football for the start of the 2019-20, including youth football. Do you know how they currently work?


As a recap, the ruling for sin bins currently is that yellow cards are used along with the referee clearly pointing to the side lines, resulting in a ten-minute dismissal from the pitch (*eight minutes for all matches of less than 90 minutes), during which time the player is not allowed to be substituted or involved in the game in any way.

A second temporary dismissal in a match would result in the offending player being dismissed for a further ten (*or eight) minutes, after which they could not re-join the match, but may then be substituted, if the team has substitutions remaining.

There is no fine issued for a sin bin as punishment is deemed to have already been served during the match for a single sin bin offence, however repeat offenders are fined £25, as well as being given a one match ban.

This summary produced by the FA makes things a bit clearer on how offences accumulate, and what punishments are given:

FA England Caution Offences Summary and Punishments


What are your thoughts on sin bins? Have you seen them used and were they effective? If and when the blue card is introduced, do you think it will it make the game better?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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