Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes a trial of sin bins at higher levels of football could rescue the game from being “ruined” by red cards - but former England captain John Terry says it could make the sport “boring”.
Football’s lawmakers IFAB have backed a trial of temporary dismissals of players for offences such as dissent and tactical fouls and a proposed change to the laws of the game will be considered at its annual general meeting in March.
If approved, sin bins could be introduced at the higher levels of the game by the start of next season and those backing the changes will now look to develop a protocol and a system for trialling after its successful implementation at grassroots levels.
Like in rugby union, which operates a 10-minute sin bin for yellow card offences, players would be removed from the pitch temporarily under the new rules, with the emphasis on improving behaviour towards the referee.
Sin bins were introduced across all levels of grassroots football from the 2019-20 season in an attempt to to improve levels of respect and fair play in the game and the rule change was implemented up to step five of the National League system.
The IFAB also backed a proposal which would only allow the team captains to talk to the referee in certain in-game situations.
Carragher said he has not been a “fan” of sin bins in the past but said football could benefit from a system of “orange cards” where players are not sent off for the full match for accidental dangerous play.
The Sky Sports pundit cited recent red cards shown to Liverpool’s Curtis Jones at Tottenham and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford at Copenhagen where the punishment awarded was too severe.
“I’ve never been a fan of sin bins before, but we are watching too many games that have [red] cards and for me it ruins the game,” Carragher wrote on Twitter/X in response to former England team-mate Terry, who said he was against the proposed change.
Terry argued teams would be encouraged to sit back if they had a player sent to the sin bins and warned it could lead to “inconsistencies” from week to week.
“I personally don’t like it because the level of tolerance and inconsistencies from referees will differ every week!" Terry wrote on social media.
"Also what will happen is the team that goes down to 10 men for three minutes will go into a low block and make it difficult to break down, which will become boring for every one watching!" he added.
Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the Fifa referees committee who sits on the IFAB’s technical subcommittee, said the proposed trials would “very probably” involve professional football.
“The idea is to go deeper into all of the details because it’s easy to say we do (it) and it’s a bit more difficult how to regulate everything,” he said. “But the idea is to start working on this as soon as possible to provide those who would be involved in the trial a protocol to be used.
“The trial was very successful in a grassroots competition. Now we are talking of a higher level, very probably professional or even high professional football. We need to draft something that works or is worthy for top football.”
IFAB board members also agreed any new VAR measures should not result in any additional delays to matches, while supporting the need to continue developing semi-automated offside technology.
Additionally, they discussed potential strategies to address time lost in matches and tactics aimed at disrupting the game’s tempo, including in relation to the six-second restriction for goalkeepers, delaying restarts and managing injuries.
A possible law amendment, which would result in handball offences for which penalties are awarded being punished in the same way as fouls in terms of yellow and red cards, was a further consideration.
Includes reporting from PA