The Management Committee are delighted to announce that the Surrey Primary League has been selected as one of 32 leagues that will trial Temporary Dismissals – more commonly known as ‘sin bins’ – during the 2017-18 season.

The Pilot is for all age groups in the League, not specific divisions, and will apply to SPL matches including the Cup or trophy ties but not County Cups. Evaluating the Pilot gives the SPL clubs and teams a unique opportunity to influence the outcome. As a League that champions fair play and an enjoyable environment we believe the SPL should be at the forefront of initiatives which fit within these objectives.

The framework has been set and may not be altered. Your comments will be analysed throughout the season and will contribute to the eventual submission of the League. The FA is making changes to the Whole Game System to enable Sin Bin cautions to be recorded; the League will be making changes to the online match card and Referee Report Card.


​In March 2017, the IFAB gave approval to National Associations to use Temporary Dismissals either for all cautions or for selected cautions. Subsequently the Football Association (‘FA’) agreed that the Pilot would be for dissent only and would be confined to clubs at Step 7 and below.

​The objective of the Pilot is to learn from a controlled environment and evaluate whether Sin Bins successfully reduce the level of dissent. Participating leagues have the opportunity to provide feedback to FA Committees which in turn will be fed back to IFAB. A final decision on full introduction will be made in 12 months. It is also essential to point out that the Pilot does not require referees to adopt a different interpretation of dissent – otherwise it might be impossible to evaluate its effectiveness – it is the sanction for dissent that is changing, not how referees determine the offence.


Dealing with dissent in the Pilot

It may be helpful if we think of the Pilot as changing only the way dissent is dealt with once the offence has been committed. The Pilot only applies to players on the field of play and not to substitutes or coaching staff. The referee’s interpretation as dissent of words, gestures or behaviour used by players has not changed. Neither is there any change to the way referees judge whether players have used offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures, or judge whether players are guilty of unsporting behaviour, e.g, by showing a lack of respect for the game. So what changes in the Pilot is that –

  • All cautions for dissent on the field of play must be dealt with by the Sin Bin process
  • Referees signal by issuing a yellow card in the normal way and pointing with both hands to the touchline where the player must go (not a defined Sin Bin area)


In the Sin Bin (First Offence)

  • The period in the Sin Bin is 10 minutes playing time for 90 minute matches.
  • For all other matches, it is 8 minutes.
  • The referee has the final decision on when the player can return to play, and this does not need to be in a stoppage in play.
  • The 10 minutes is not a measure of elapsed time but relates to the time the ball is in play: in other words, referees should stop the watch during substitutions, treatment of injuries and other stoppages. If the 10 minute period has not expired at the end of the first half it continues to the second half (or extra-time); but if it has not expired at the end of extra-time and there are kicks from the penalty mark the player can participate.
  • A player in the Sin Bin cannot be substituted until the period has expired.
  • If the period has not expired at the end of the 1st half, it continues during the 2nd half.
  • Any remaining minutes at the end of the 2nd half DO NOT move to the next match.


Repeat Offender

These instructions to referees reflect the underlying intention of the IFAB in dealing with dissent by denying the offender’s team the services of the offending player for 10 minutes immediately the offence has been committed. And if the same player commits a further dissent offence after returning to the field of play, a further 10 minute period is immediately enforced, making up to 20 minutes the period of play when a team does not have all its players. The immediate nature of the sanction is also recognised in the decision of IFAB to allow substitutes to replace players who are sent-off only for dissent on the field of play offences.

​However, other events during the match will have an impact on IFAB’s intention of dealing with dissent via the Sin Bin, for example, if a player in the Sin Bin commits another yellow card offence whilst there, the player is sent-off – a similar process to the current LOAF. However, a key difference with the current LOAF is that a player who has been in the Sin Bin and is back on the field of play is not sent-off for receiving two cautions where the second caution is for a non-dissent offence. Another departure from the LOAF – this time changing the Law that does not allow sent-off players to be replaced by a substitute – relates to a player who has already been in the Sin Bin and then commits a further dissent on the field of play offence. This player is not sent-off immediately but first needs to serve a second period in the Sin Bin. Once the second Sin Bin period has expired, this player may then be substituted. There will also be circumstances where a player receives three yellow cards in a match: a first for dissent, a second for a non-dissent offence (e.g., a reckless challenge), and third for dissent. This player is sent-off immediately.

How to deal with these repeat offences is set out below. A temporary dismissed player who –

a. Commits another yellow card offence or red card offence during the Sin Bin period cannot take any further part in the game and cannot be substituted.

  1. Commits a non-dissent caution at any time on the field of play in addition to the Sin Bin period will continue to play.
  2. Commits a second dissent on the field of play 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.
  3. Commits a second dissent action and has already had a non-dissent caution will take no further part in the game and cannot be substituted.

​All other Laws of the Game remain unaffected (e.g., non-dissent yellow cards).

Caution Offence 1Caution Offence 2Caution Offence 3On Field Sanction
Dissent--Sin Bin
DissentNon Dissent-Sin Bin, Caution Recorded (No Send Off)
DissentNon Dissent CautionNon Dissent CautionSin Bin, Send Off for S7
DissentDissent-Sin Bin x2, unable to rejoin, but can be substituted
after 2nd Sin Bin if not all Substitutes used
DissentNon Dissent CautionDissentSin Bin, Caution Recorded, Sin Bin, unable to rejoin
and CANNOT be substituted
Non Dissent CautionDissent-Caution Recorded, Sin Bin
Non Dissent CautionDissentNon Dissent CautionCaution Recorded, Sin Bin, Send Off for S7
Non Dissent CautionDissentDissentCaution Recorded, Sin Bin, Sin Bin - unable to rejoin,
and CANNOT be substituted after 2nd Sin Bin

Disciplinary Procedure

​Please note that although it has been agreed that the £10 administration fee for temporary dismissals will be waived the standard disciplinary points will be logged against both the club and player records.


Useful Documents