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Is a Sin Bin a Good Idea for Football?

The Dutch FA have announced plans to trial a sin bin in youth games during the 2013/2014 season.

Sin bins work very well in rugby but they have never been tried before in football. The Dutch FA has taken the initiative to at least try it out in youth team matches starting from next season.

It will work on the basis that any player shown a yellow card will have to leave the field for exactly ten minutes, leaving his team at a numerical disadvantage throughout that period.

Red cards will stay exactly as they are and the rule for a second yellow leading to a red, will also stay the same as it currently is.

It’s an interesting and forward thinking way to try and improve discipline in the game and respect towards referees and it will be very interesting to see the results of the trial and whether it’s moved into the senior game.

The obvious benefit of a sin bin rule is that it will curb poor challenges and poor tackles, which have the ability to injure players and send them out of the game for a long time.

It should also increase the amount of respect being shown to referees at all levels of professional football, as there are far too many incidents where players currently surround officials, putting pressure on them to produce yellow cards and make big decisions.

It will introduce a fine line between skill and recklessness and could vamp up the excitement in close and tense games at both ends of any league table. Having a player sin binned in the final ten minutes could save or cause a team to be relegated, promoted and so on.

However, the obvious argument against using a sin bin rule is that it will effectively stop referees from making big decisions and handing out red cards, choosing to produce a yellow more frequently to try and pacify both sides after an incident.

There is also the fact that it could drastically reduce the physical element, which is especially evident in the English game. Football is a contact sport and it works very well in this country.

Players could quickly become petrified of making any sort of challenge because they know a referee will already be more willing to produce a yellow card, which has the same effect temporarily as a red card.

The idea is good in theory and it’s time to see how it will work in principle. If it does produce some positive results and comments from those experiencing it, it will then have to go through FIFA’s epic guidelines, rule changes and various board meetings before it’s officially introduced and well know that doesn’t happen quickly.

What do you make of this idea?

image: © Steven Depolo

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