Stones welcomes the FA’s new sin bin rules

Michael Stones
Michael Stones

Horncastle Town boss Mickey Stones has welcomed the new sin bin rules, but admits it may take time for everyone to get used to the new way of working.

Sin bins will be introduced to all senior football at step five and below from the start of next season - which will mean a hasty learning of the new rules for a number of clubs from the Lincs League and other local leagues.

The FA has given the thumbs up for referees to temporarily dismiss players for 10-minute periods for dissent, following successful trials.

While foul and abusive language can still see players receive straight red cards, lesser crimes, such as kicking the ball away, could lead to a player sent to his side’s technical area until allowed to return by the match official.

“I’ve got mixed views. But I think it is a positive move to stop criticism towards officials,” Stones said.

“I’ve been a culprit of it before, but I realise you don’t have a league without officials.

“Personally, I would have preferred it if they’d trailed it in youth football first and then introduced it into the senior game as these players moved up.

“I don’t think it’ll be easy to get a 30-year-old to change their ways quickly.

“Like every new rule, different people will interpret it in different ways.

“Some referees may have their own idea of what dissent is, but like with everything in the game different referees have their own way of doing things and you have to get used to that.”

While being temporarily dismissed doesn’t carry the £10 administration fee that comes with a regular booking, any player sin binned twice cannot continue in the game, but can be replaced if their side has an available substitute to use.

If a player receives two sin binnings and a caution, however, they will leave the game and cannot be replaced

But one rule worth noting in cup competitions is that any player who is still temporarily dismissed at the end of a contest is allowed to take part in a penalty shootout.

If a goalkeeper is sin binned then an outfield player must take his place, the stopper only allowed to return after the ball is out of play, unlike teammates in other positions.

Another aspect of the new rule sees managers - with their role as the most senior member of a club on the bench - shouldering the punishment for dissent from the dug-out.

“Overall, I’m all for it,” added Stones. “We don’t want to be losing players for 10 minutes. We have to make sure we respect the officials.

“It’s something we try to get the lads to do and maybe sometimes we’re too nice.

“But I also think it will get teams acting differently, it encourages players to set an example. You don’t want to keep losing players so if someone is getting at the ref it will encourage his teammates to have a go at them about their behaviour.”

Lincolnshire FA’s Referee Development Officer Michael Brader is backing the scheme.

“The major premise for the change is to promote respect and improve the experience for all participants with poor discipline being dealt with on the day,” he explained.

“There were 73,500 cautions for dissent in the 2016-7 season and the leagues that have trialed this new law have seen a reduction of 38 per cent in such offences.

“It is a misconception that it is to protect, in particular, young referees.

“It is true that referees do cite one of the main reasons for leaving the game to be poor player behaviour, but that is just as prominent in experienced referees.

“I believe the Boston and District Saturday League to be one of the best in the country and every game currently receives a referee.

“But even so, last season incidents occurred which were a catalyst to officials hanging up the whistle.

“What is less quantifiable is how many players and managers walk away from the game as a result of poor standards of behaviour.”

Last season the Boston League used a total of 61 referees across its four divisions and cup contests.

Chairman Roger Gell is welcoming the changes.

“As a league we are in favour of it,” he said.

“We support the Football Association’s Respect project. Hopefully, this can help improve discipline in the league.

“It allows the referees to instill justice at the time and I’m sure this will lead to more respect from teams.

“The referees in our league show excellent commitment to refereeing matches. We used 61 last year and we have an excellent referee selector in Terry Knott, who ensures we have games covered.

“At the end of the day, the referees should be involved in football for enjoyment, as much as everyone else.”