Referee Assessors

Temporary Dismissals (Sin Bins)

For the start of the 2019/20 season, in accordance with the Laws of the Game as determined by International Football Association Board (IFAB), The FA has sanctioned the mandatory use of Temporary Dismissals (Sin Bins) for dissent offences only.

Following a very successful two year trial period, Sin Bins will become mandatory across all leagues within the country at Step 7 and below.

This change will have a direct impact on referees, players, clubs & leagues throughout Merseyside and the following information will allow you to understand the process of Sin Bins and how they will operate on a match day.

History & Authority

IFAB are responsible for the Laws of the Game which govern all formats of football worldwide and as such, national Football Associations are responsible for ensuring that these are correctly implemented. In March 2017, IFAB approved for national associations to have the discretion to use Sin Bins for either all cautions or selected cautions.

The FA opted to conduct a pilot on the use of Sin Bins for Dissent offences only in order to support the RESPECT programme. In addition, during the 2016/17 season, there were 73,500 cautions for dissent nationwide (25% of all cautions) and the aim of the use of Sin Bins is to decrease dissent and improve the match-day experience for all participants

Pilot & Results

Temporary Dismissals were first trialled across 31 leagues in the country during the 2017/18 season and following a survey, the results are as follows:-

- 38% reduction in dissent offences across all leagues
- 72% of players wanted to continue with Sin Bins
- 77% of managers/coaches wanted to continue with Sin Bins
- 84% of referees wanted to continue with Sin Bins

Following the results of the survey it was determined that the trial would continue with an additional 61 leagues for the 2018/19 season before coming mandatory for all leagues at Step 7 and below for the 2019/20 season.

Matchday Process

In order to ensure that you have a full understanding as to how the Sin Bin process will be implemented during a game, please refer to the below information:-


  • Applies only to active players only (those on the field of play)
  • Does not apply to substitutes and coaching staff


  • The referee will take the name of the offending player
  • A yellow card will be issued and shown
  • Referee to point to the touchline where the player must go (there will be no specific Sin Bin area)


  • Sin Bin to last for 10 minutes in matches of a 90 minute duration
  • Sin bin to last for 8 minutes in all other matches
  • The Sin Bin period only commences when the referee restarts play
  • Referee will include any lost time (i.e. injury delay)
  • Referee is the sole arbitrator of time and as to when the player can return (permission can be given when the ball is in play)

Offending Player?

  • Cannot be substituted until the Sin Bin period has expired
  • Can take part in a penalty shootout – even if the Sin Bin period has not expired (i.e. end of extra time)
  • Must be in the Sin Bin for active playing time (i.e. Sin Bin to continue into second half if required)
  • Defined as being in the Sin Bin from the moment they are cautioned for dissent (even if play has not yet restarted)
  • Any player who has been temporarily dismissed and commits a further yellow or red card offence whilst in the Sin Bin cannot take any further part in the game and cannot be substituted

On-Field Sanctions

As of the 2019/20 season, all dissent cautions must be dealt with via the Sin Bin process whereas cautions for all other offences (unsporting behaviour, persistent infringement etc.) will remain unaffected. Repeat offenders will be sanctioned as per the guidelines below.

If a temporary dismissed player:-

  • Commits another yellow card offence or red card offence during the Sin Bin period, they cannot take any further part in the game and cannot be substituted
  • Commits a non-dissent caution at any time on the field of play in addition to the Sin Bin period will continue to play
  • Commits a second dissent caution (and no other offences) will receive a second period in the Sin Bin. At the end of that period, the player can take no further part in the game but can be substituted (providing that the team concerned has not used all of their permitted substitutes)
  • Commits a second dissent offence and has already had a non-dissent caution will take no further part in the game and cannot be substituted
Caution Offence 1  Caution Offence 2 Caution Offence 3 On-Field Sanction
Dissent  - - Sin Bin
Dissent Non-Dissent - Sin Bin, caution recorded (no send off)
Dissent Non-Dissent Caution Non-Dissent Caution Sin Bin, send off for S7 (second caution)
Dissent Dissent - Sin Bin x2, unable to re-join but CAN be substituted after second Sin Bin if not all substitutes used
Dissent Non-Dissent Caution Dissent Sin Bin, caution recorded, Sin Bin, unable to re-join and CAN'T be substituted
Non-Dissent Caution Dissent - Caution recorded, Sin Bin
Non-Dissent Caution Dissent Non-Dissent Caution Caution recorded, Sin Bin, send off for S7 (second caution)
Non-Dissent Caution Dissent Dissent Caution recorded, Sin Bin, Sin Bin - unable to re-join and CAN'T be substituted after second Sin Bin

Yes – we want the player to avoid injury and the purpose of the Sin Bin is to remove the offender from play.

For any match which lasts for a duration of 90 minutes, then the offending player will be placed in the Sin Bin for 10 minutes.

 For all other matches then the time in the Sin Bin will be 8 minutes.

It is important to remember that the time served in the Sin Bin must be active playing time and the referee will therefore include any lost time (i.e. injury delay).

As long as the referee follows the correct procedure then there should be no issues. Referees will need to note down the time of issuing the Sin Bin.

Following clarification from the IFAB on the action to be taken when a team goes below 7 players, in short, any team that goes below 7 players for whatever reason, will result in the match being abandoned.

Yes. If a Sin Bin dismissal is reported, then it will go on a player's record and counts towards 5 caution/10 caution/15 caution actions.

Also, if a player receives two sin bins in a game, then as well as not being allowed back on during that game they will also receive a fine and one-match suspension.