You may have missed it, but FIFA and their law making body Ifab are looking at bringing in Sin Bins for yellow cards. Initially at youth and amateur level, and potentially as early as two years’ time for professional leagues. They have been trialling it at UEFA development leagues in recent years.
I find it quire strange that they would introduce it at amateur level first, as you may be creating a rod for themselves. The majority of referees at this level, do it for the love of the game and make more genuine mistakes which could create animosity with the players, if they incorrectly book them and subsequently sin bin! This may have a negative influence on the outcome. It may also lead to an increase in gamesmanship to get a fellow player removed from the game for a period of time.
I have my concerns in general about how the concept can be delivered effectively, especially at the Senior level, where there is a great deal of money involved. Will it give the referee a get out, if he has to make a decision he is not 100% sure of (this will probably help the larger teams). Rather than a red, he can give a yellow card and a sin bin. I would have thought that the introduction of a sin bin should be done in conjunction with a video ref. This would then prevent any miscarriages happening. Where sin bins are used in rugby, it is along with a video ref, so that they can see the incident again, and make sure that the decision is correct. In football, it would not be needed at every booking, but potentially for professional fouls, or hand balls in the penalty area.
This weekend was a perfect example of where a Yellow Card was given incorrectly, which Would have resulted in a team losing a player. In the SPFL match between Motherwell and Hearts, the Hearts midfielder, Malaury Martin, was booked by referee Andrew Dallas for a trip on Motherwell striker Louis Moult. With the referee being only marginally further away from the incident than Martin, the referee failed to see that Moult had been accidently tripped by his team mate Lionel Ainsworth, with Martin a good yard away from them. So a team would have been down to ten men because of an error by a referee.
Another issue may be that a team could go down to nine, eight or even seven players, if the referee gets card crazy as we will all have seen at some game. At the start of the season the Heats v Celtic game had 28 fouls and 10 bookings! At one point Hearts had committed 7 fouls and had 5 players booked! At one point Hearts would have been down to 8 players.
There are many contentious decisions every weekend as highlighted by TV pundits. It wouldn’t take long for a decision to create a major controversy when a team has a player sinbinned incorrectly and end up losing a match. A match official has a hard enough job, without opening their performance to even greater scrutiny. Personally I think that it would be a bad decision if Ifab went ahead with their idea of bringing in sinbins to go with yellow cards.