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06th Feb 2024

FA Cup games, next season, to trial law that has transformed rugby

Callum Boyle

There will be two ways that you could be given a sin-bin

Next season’s edition of the FA Cup could feature sin bins for the first time. In a move that will mirror rugby, the English FA are trialling sin bins to see if that cuts down on foul play and dissent.

Talks with the International Football Association Board [IFAB] have been taking place and it is expected the announcement will be confirmed next month during their next annual meeting. According to The Times, the Football Association will consider trialling them in the FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup next season.

The dictionary definition states that a sin bin is: “An area off the field of play where a player who has committed a foul can be sent to sit for a specified period.”

It’s commonly used in sports such as hockey and rugby and allows officials to send off players for 10 minutes to give the team of that individual a numerical disadvantage for a brief period of the game.

In last weekend’s Six Nations, there were four players sin-binned across three matches. Peter O’Mahony and Scotland stars George Turner and Sione Tuipulotu were yellow-carded and sent to the sin bin. Paul Willemse was also yellow-carded then picked up a second caution, minutes after returning from the sin bin, and was sent off.

The law was introduced to rugby union in 2000 and has transformed the professional game. A recent law amendment has been the review bunker, which can upgrade a yellow card to a red, following further investigation of footage during that 10-minute ‘sin bin’ period.

FA Cup

What could a sin bin be given for?

Sin bins will most likely be given for acts of dissent or tactical fouls.

This may be when a player argues with a referee or commits a cynical foul that was deserves to be punished but isn’t enough to warrant a red card.

One example of when a sin bin would be awarded under the new rules was Giorgio Chiellini’s foul on Bukayo Saka in the Euro 2020 final.

Chiellini deliberately pulled on Saka’s shirt to stop him using his pace to get away from the veteran, potentially saving Italy from a goal threat. Although it wasn’t bad enough to deserve a red, a sin bin would’ve been awarded, giving an Italy a one-man disadvantage for 10 minutes.

Sin bins football

When will this be brought in?

Following a successful trial at youth levels in both Wales and England, the IFAB are now looking at giving the concept an extended trial at a higher levels. It would be up to each respective governing body to decide which competitions feature sin bins.

FIFA referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina has backed the idea of sin bins, saying: “The idea is to start working on this as soon as possible to provide those who would be involved in the trial a protocol to be used. The idea is to get it soon.

“The trial was very successful in grassroots competitions. Now we are talking of a higher level, very probably professional or even high professional football.”

FA chief Mark Bullingham also admitted that they were looking at introducing sin bins. He 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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