[Issued by SAL Working Group, Ronnie Robinson, Bob Coates, Mark Freedman, Ian Kerr, 3 July 2017]
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. 130 leagues registered an interest and the Southern Amateur League (‘SAL’) was selected. The Pilot is for all divisions in the League, not specific divisions, and will apply to SAL Cup ties but not County Cups or inter-league competitions.
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.
To put the Pilot into the context of the SAL and to give an indication of how prevalent dissent may be in the League next season – which also gives an indication of how often individual referees are likely to be faced with a ‘Sin Bin situation’ – it is worth noting that 326 dissent cautions were issued last season covering some 1,800 league and cup matches. This equates to one dissent caution every 5½ games. This gives us a baseline to review the Pilot in the coming season.
Evaluating the Pilot gives the SAL a unique opportunity to influence the outcome. 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 Referee Report Card.