Footballers in Lancashire could be hit with 10-minute “sin bins” from next season in a bid to clamp down on dissent.
The new rule will come into force from the start of the 2019/20 season in all Lancashire FA affiliated leagues and cup competitions, plus the FA Vase.
It will affect teams at Step 7 and below, such as the West Lancashire League. The sin bins will be 10 minutes for 90 minute games and eight minutes for shorter matches.
The idea of a sin-bin in professional football is one that has been discussed on many occasions before, with ex UEFA President Michel Platini to President elect Jerome Champagne backing the idea.
The idea behind the initiative intends to help referees and officials clamp down on dissent and abuse directed towards them while officiating.
According to the FA, during the 2016/17 season there were 73,500 cautions for dissent nationwide (25% of all cautions).
Shaun Taylor, who referees in the North West Counties League and works for Lancashire FA, said: “I think its going to be a great initiative from The FA really and hopefully the overall matchday experience for referees will improve.
“Unfortunately dissent is part of the game but as referees we have to maintain a level head.
“I think overall it will have a positive impact on combating dissent because once players and teams are getting reduced numbers for players committing acts of dissent towards the referee and being put in the sin bin, I think their own players will start to tell them to wind their necks in.”
However, not everyone is confident the sin bin idea will be a success. Tony Hesketh, manager of Fulwood Amateurs, who sit second in the West Lancashire Football League, has his doubts about how the new law will be implemented due to the quality of referees at that level.
Tony, former manager at both Chorley and Lancaster City, said: “In theory it’s a great idea but how they’re going to police it I’m not quite sure.
“It’ll just be putting more pressure on them and even without the sin bin it’s a hard enough job for them to do anyway.”
“Time will tell whether its a good idea or not. Personally I think it will bring more contentious issues than I think it will resolve, that’s my worry.
“I’m very sceptical but I am curious to see how successful it will be.
“It’s consistency we’re looking for as managers, consistency from referees regarding decision making and for one man to manage that I think it’ll be very difficult.”
The FA said the sin bins have been trialled elsewhere in the country and they saw a 38 per cent reduction in dissent offences across all leagues.