Sin Bins

Fancy ten minutes on the sideline?

Temporary dismissals – otherwise known as “Sin Bins” – are mandatory for matters of ‘dissent’ across all grassroots football. The Sin Bin is a 10 minute time out for players. Exactly like Rugby Union when a player receives a yellow card your team will be down to ten men for ten minutes.

Access to Sin Bin FAQ’s, videos and infographics which will help players, clubs officials and referee’s to understand the process in more detail.

An online guide to Sin Bins. With an interactive tool on whether you are a player, club official or a match official.

Guide to Sin Bins



FAQ’S – Sin Bins


Please also visit the LFA links at the start of the page for even more extensive information about Sin Bins.



What happens if a goalkeeper commits dissent?

The same sin bin process occurs for all players, however, when a goalkeeper’s period in the sin bin has expired they have two options when returning to the game. If they wish to return to the game during play then they must return to the field of play wearing an outfield player’s shirt. Once there is a stoppage in play then they can then go back into goals. If the returning goalkeeper wishes to go straight back into goal then they must wait for a stoppage in play before returning from the sin bin.


What is the process if more than one player is in the sin bin at any one period?

Referees should follow the correct cautioning procedure by isolating the player, explaining that the player is being cautioned for dissent and will be receiving 10/8 minutes in the sin bin, take the players name, number and note down the time the player is being sent to the sin bin. If you follow this procedure then you can easily manage multiple players in the sin bin, for example, if you have 3 players in the sin bin and have correctly noted down the times they entered the sin bin, i.e. 25th minute, 33rd minute and 41st minute then you will know that player one returns in the 35th minute, player two returns in the 43rd minute and player three returns in the 51st minute. Noting down the time the player was sin binned is key.


If a team only has 7 players, what happens if 2 players from that team get sinned in the same 10 minute period?

If a temporarily dismissed player takes the team below the minimum player threshold, the game will be abandoned and further disciplinary action will be taken against the club.


What happens if a player who is already in the sin bin commits further dissent?

If a player commits further misconduct whilst in the sin bin they will receive a second caution and be sent off not allowing them to return from the game. A player refusing to go to the sin bin classes as misconduct.


During sending a player to the sin bin, the player in question gives abusive language towards match official (red card offence) would you ignore the sin bin process and just send them off?

Yes, the laws of the game have not changed so as the referee you should action the most serious offence, which in this case would be a red card for foul and abusive language.


If a player is sin binned in the 86th Minute and only serves 4 minutes of their sin bin do they serve the additional minutes in the next game?

No, all sin bins are to be dealt with on the day and periods in the sin bin DO NOT carry over into the next match.


Why not have another colour card to avoid 3 yellows and confusion?

International Football Association Board (IFAB) have not sanctioned the use of another coloured card. Until they do so we are unable to action this. When sending a player to the sin bin ensure you clearly display the yellow card and point towards the touchline to provide appropriate communication and minimise confusion.


When a player has received a second sin bin do you show a red card as that player cannot return to the game but can be substituted?

If the player has received only 2 sin bins during the game and no other non-dissent cautions then as the player in the sin bin can be substituted then, NO the player SHOULD NOT be shown a red card, as a red card suggests a team is down to 10 men, this may cause confusion when that player can be substituted following their period in the sin bin and that team return to 11 players. We suggest that referees are clear in their communication to players and managers when players have received their second sin bin during a game, reminding them that they cannot return to the game but can be substituted once their period in the sin bin has ended.


Can you caution a player for dissent without using the sin bin?

All on-field incidents of dissent MUST be dealt with by sending the player to the sin bin. The only situations where a yellow card for dissent can be issued without a player needing to go to the sin bin is for substitutes, during half time, full time and penalties


If a player receives their 2nd sin bin following a non-dissent caution, do we show the player a red card? Also, will instructions be given via WGS in how to report this incident?

If the player cannot return to the game and cannot be substituted and the team are going down to 10 players for the remainder of the game then YES, the referee should show the player a yellow card and point towards the sin bin to identify that the player has been sin binned for dissent, then a red card should be shown to identify that the player has been sent off and cannot return or be substituted.


How do you deal with dissent during penalties or half time?

Any incidents of dissent during penalties, half time or full time should be dealt with by issuing a caution for dissent. When reporting this on the Whole Game System there is still an option to record this as a C2 offence.


Can you sin bin a player at half time?

If an on-field player commits dissent by word or action during the half time break then that player is sin binned for dissent and serves the first 10 minutes of the second half in the sin bin. If a substitute commits dissent during half time they receive a caution for dissent.


When a sin binned players time in the sin bin is complete and the team wants to substitute them can the substitute enter if there is not a stoppage in play?

It depends on the substitute procedure being used in the game. If the game uses roll on, roll off substitutes then a sin binned player can be substituted without a stoppage in play. However, if roll on, roll off subs are NOT being used in the game, then there must be a stoppage in play before a substitute can be made. This may mean that a sin binned player may spend longer than 10 minutes in the sin bin until there is a stoppage in play.


If a sub shows dissent and they receive a yellow card, then comes onto the field as an active player and shows dissent they then go to the sin bin, is the player allowed to return following the sin bin period and what happens if the player commits another act of dissent?

Yes, the player can return following the first sin bin offence. If the player commits another sin bin offence or a non-dissent caution then that player will play no further part in the game.


If a player is placed in the sin bin should the referee conduct a stud and jewellery check before they re-enter the field of play?



Will cautions for club officials or subs be entered on “WGS” as a normal caution for dissent?

Yes, WGS will have the option to select either, C2 or C2 (sin bin).


Will the sin bin use be subject of a report to LFA? If so, will there be an admin charge on the player or his club.

The process for reporting a sin bin during a game will remain the same as a caution. All details will be entered into WGS as per usual, selecting C2 (sin bin) as the reason for the players caution. There will be no admin fee for a player receiving a sin bin.


Are all sin bins to be reported?

Yes, it is vital that we record all sin bin offences so The FA can measure the impact the sin bin is having. If sin bin incidents are not recorded then we are unable to identify whether the sin bin is working or not.


Do player sin bins accumulate to equal a suspension?



Will it affect all age groups or come in at a certain age i.e. offside?

The sin bin will be a mandatory process used in all grassroots football from youth to adult up to step 5. London County FA will communicate with all leagues which competitions will be using the sin bin process in due course.


Should we communicate sin bin locations to managers/coaches prior to the game, especially in youth football?

Yes, we recommend that referees communicate sin bin locations prior to the game with managers and coaches.


Where no match officials are appointed and a parent steps in, how are they supposed to ensure everything is covered?

In this situation all we ask is for those individuals who are stepping in to officiate the game to do the best they can do in managing the game to their best ability.


Can you extend the period in the sin bin?

No, sin bin periods are 10 minutes for all 90 minute games and 8 minutes for any other form of football.


How can we prevent teams from exploiting getting a game abandoned through getting players sent to the sin bin who are unable to return to the game?

Unfortunately, this is something as a county FA that we cannot control, however, any matches that are abandoned will be dealt with by The FA using the appropriate sanctions.


Does the player returning from the sin bin come back on from the halfway line?

No, the referee determines when and where the player returns to the field of play.


Can a sin binned player have any involvement in the game while serving time in the sin bin e.g. run the line?



By only including dissent as a sin bin offence are the players going to feel we are condoning other yellow card offences by allowing them to remain on the field of play?

No, dissent has been identified as a big issue in football and as dissent is a behavioural issue and not a football matter, this provides The FA with an opportunity to manage and improve behaviour which hopefully can be replicated away from football.


Is it worth explaining the sin bin before a game?

Yes, we recommend that during the first few games of the season, referees briefly remind clubs that the sin bin will be used during the game.

When discussing improving the match day experience, who are you talking about?

The purpose of the sin bin is to reduce dissent and therefore improve the match day experience of everyone involved in football, from referees, players, coaches/managers, spectators and clubs.


What is the punishment if a player who has been sin binned returns to the field of play without permission of the referee?

Entering the field of play without the permission of the referee is a cautionable offence; therefore the player should be cautioned


Does it apply to academy football?

No – Only Step 5 football and below

Do we take injury time into account?

Yes, the referee will decide the appropriate injury time to be included.