Ahead of the 2019-20 season, in accordance with the Laws of the Game as determined by International Football Association Board (IFAB), the FA 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 Lincolnshire and the following information will allow you to understand the process of Sin Bins and how they will operate on a match day.


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


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.


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)


  • 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


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 2Caution Offence 3On-Field Sanction
Dissent –Sin Bin
DissentNon-DissentSin Bin, caution recorded (no send off)
DissentNon-Dissent CautionNon-Dissent CautionSin Bin, send off for S7 (second caution)
DissentDissentSin Bin x2, unable to re-join but CAN be substituted after second Sin Bin if not all substitutes used
DissentNon-Dissent CautionDissentSin Bin, caution recorded, Sin Bin, unable to re-join and CAN’T be substituted
Non-Dissent CautionDissentCaution recorded, Sin Bin
Non-Dissent CautionDissentNon-Dissent CautionCaution recorded, Sin Bin, send off for S7 (second caution)
Non-Dissent CautionDissentDissentCaution recorded, Sin Bin, Sin Bin – unable to re-join and CAN’T be substituted after second Sin Bin