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Question Number: 32120

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/19/2017

Jeff Banks of Captain Cook, HI USA asks...

When is temporary dismissal used?
What levels of soccer is it used?
When was it developed and for what reason?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jeff,
To get the full information on when, how and where temporary dismissals can be used, the best thing to do would be to read the IFAB's guidance on this. There are a complicated set of criteria for the implementation of 'sin bins' and it would be difficult to adequately summarise them here.

The document is available on the IFAB's website at:

The idea of sin bins has been around for some time and as far as I know, they were developed and used by other sports before the IFAB ever got around to proposing them. As for why it was developed, according the the IFAB:

''The philosophy is that an 'instant punishment' can have a significant and immediate positive influence on the behaviour of the offending player and, potentially, the player's team.''

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeff
The notion of instant punishment has been around in sports for many years. Rather than eliminating a player totally from the game many sports operate a 'sin bin ' which punishes the player and the team for a period of time only. It can allow for tempers to settle in unpleasant situations.
The following reasons lie behind the sanction
1. To totally eliminate a player from the rest of the game for certain offences would be harsh.
2. The sanction punishes the action and the team with the loss of a player for a time period. It tries to change behaviour without the ultimate sanction of a red card
3. The sin bin offences are certain offences that are unsporting rather than straight red card offences such as violent conduct, serious foul play, spitting etc
It has been used in Underage for some time now through the used of a Blue card.
The Blue card sin bin / timed suspension rules are set out here
IFAB has now come out as outlined by Referee Grove. We will no doubt see this rolled out more extensively in the years ahead

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jeff,
this concept was adapted in outdoor high school soccer as a way of teaching kids consequences. The idea of such has been in use in indoor soccer for many years. IT allows the flash points of a tense situation to settle a bit rather than force a cautioned player to continue playing upset or for those on the field from retaliating unnecessarily IT permits substitutions rather than red card send offs even if the double cautioned player is removed when unlimited subs are in play.

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