SCFL chairman Nealgrove backs sin bins as ‘positive step forward’ to cut out dissent

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 12:27 pm
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The temporary dismissals will be used next season with The FA announcing plans for the in-match punishments at Step 5 and Step 6 level.

The trial has been going on in grassroots football since 2017/18 and the original plan was to extend the scheme to Step 7 and below in the 2019/20 campaign.

The SCFL have announced, however, that The FA have informed them that sin bins will be introduced to the whole of the league next season.

The punishments are designed to be issued for dissent only - which amounted to 25 per cent of all cautions during the 2016-17 season. Now for first offences for dissent, no yellow cards or fines will be issued, instead the offending player will be asked to leave the pitch for ten minutes.

A second instance of dissent in a match will result in them spending the rest of the time off the pitch and a fine from the Sussex FA.

They have been meant to of being used at under-18, under-23 and in Division 2, although many clubs have reported this has been sporadic. Which is the same for the Mid Sussex Football League.

The West Sussex Football League have also confirmed that sin bins will be ‘mandatory’ across their divisions next season. A spokesman commented: “It will be a lead to an improvement in player behaviour we think.”

On behalf of the SCFL, Nealgrove explained: “They have been being trialed by other leagues around the country, although we weren’t originally part of that.

“In the summer we attended a conference where we were told how these trials were going.

“The figures that the FA used were that 1.19 sin bins in every game from approximately 3,000 games. And that they wanted to now roll it out to us as well as compulsory at Step 7.

“We want to cut out dissent and we think when we revisit things at the end of next season our figures will have done that when we compare them.

“We know there have been some teething problems with its introduction, but we are all still learning. We will be meeting with clubs and referees in the summer and doing road shows to roll things out.

“We, as a league, think it is a positive step forward. Sin bins have been used in ice hockey and rugby for many years and having played ice hockey, I understand how it works and benefits the game. Sin bins aren’t so much of a punishment, but a tool to rule out dissent.

“We think it works well and we are looking forward to rolling it out at the start of the season. If it helps cut down dissent and keeps match officials in the game, then it is a good thing.

“I would ask clubs to be open minded and seeing it as a way forwards and embracing it.”

Loxwood manager Alex Walsh said: “I think whenever a new rule is introduced into the game it’s always going to be up for debate. It does need to be fine-tuned and not just ‘sin bin, off you go’. It has to be logical.

“All managers and coaches need to understand the rules because if it started tomorrow I think a few people would get confused with that situation. People would be screaming ‘sin bin’ and it’d be very messy.

“It adds another type of tactical element to the game. It’s kind of like a power-play in other sports.

“If you go down to ten for a bit, do you change your tactics and get at them a little bit more? For me that’s interesting.

“This rule is coming in so everyone needs to stop moaning about it and get on with it.

“There will be fine lines where you think ‘is that a sin bin’? There’s going to be times when people get it wrong and there’s going to be times when it works really well.

“This is a rule they’ve decided to bring in and we’ve got to adapt quickly to it.

“What it’s trying to do is stop dissent with referees and officials and I understand that sometimes me and the players get frustrated at times but people are out there trying to do the best they can.

“If anything can help them that’s great but I think they need to see it from our point-of-view as managers, coaches, and players as well. It works both way.”

Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland said: “I think they can tinker too much with it. It’s like VAR, you’re either for it or against it.

“I think we’ve lived for 100 years with referees making decisions and I guarantee that over a season it levels itself out.

“I just think it can get out of control. I think football has got to be careful with that sort of thing. It’ll end up like ice hockey if you’re not careful.

“I do accept that at Premier League level the game is played at a lightning pace and it’s very difficult for officials but it’s the same for everyone.

“I’d sooner someone went in the sin bin for ten minutes than it culminating in a red card I suppose. It sounds like to me it would be used instead of a yellow card.

“I’m open-minded on that. It might make a player think twice before he opens his gob.

“A player is going to spend ten minutes in the dugout and once it happened to them once maybe it’ll make them think twice about doing it again.

“If it’s introduced we’ve got to go with it. Ultimately we’ve got to go with what they decide anyway.”

Alfold manager Jack Munday said: “To be honest I think it makes the standard of football look worse from the outside.

“If I hadn’t watched Step 5 or 6 before but was thinking of going to watch a game and was then told ‘by the way there’s a sin bin rule’ then I wouldn’t bother watching. It’s something you’d expect in Sunday league football like roll on roll off subs.

“I was told the whole point is because it’s for players that give the ref non-stop verbal, we’ll surely it just gives the players an extra chance to push their luck with the referee as they know they will come back on?

“If the refs receive verbal abuse then just send the player off full stop they’ll soon learn. My opinion is it slows the game down and doesn’t improve it, others may think different but that’s mine.”

Oakwood general manager and first team manager Mark Gilbert thinks sin bins are a good idea providing officials use them sparingly.

He pointed to a situation where half the team could end up watching the game from the sidelines if it is applied to frequently.

Gilbert said: “If it’s a calling off period it’s a great idea as long as the referees know how to use it.

“Last weekend we had six bookings and a sending-off - could we end up with six players off the pitch?

“I think referees need to be stronger and not let games get out of hand.

“Anything that’s going to bring respect and cut down malicious tackles has to be good for the game.

“If officials don’t turn up we don’t have a game. Why should they be bullied and sworn at?”

Crawley Down Gatwick manager James Day said: “Personally, I think the theory behind its introduction is a good one. We shall see how it works in practice, and how SCFL obtain consistency in its application. It works in rugby, and it’s encouraging that football is looking at other sports for ways it can develop.”

Three Bridges chairman/caretaker manager Paul Faili has had a few run-ins himself with officials over the years.

While the sin bin won’t effect the Bostik League yet, Faili does not think the new move will do much to stop dissent from managers and players.

He said: “We have not experienced it in the Bostik League but I know lots of people involved in the SCFL and it will be interesting to see how it works.

“We as managers probably get too involved and I am not exactly the first person on a referee’s list to invite home for tea.

“Referees need to look at themselves but we have to make more of an effort as referees are leaving the sport.

“I am not sure it is much of a deterrent. It is just another layer of complication and it may be best to leave sin bins to hockey.”