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Sin bin having ‘positive effect’: Ref

Referee Isaac Trevis warning Wairarapa United’s Cory Chettleburgh [15] for dissent in Sunday’s 1-3 loss to Stop Out. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


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A ‘sin bin’ for dissent, being trialed in Wairarapa’s local leagues, is having a positive effect on player behaviour.

Wairarapa Football referees chairman and referee Steve Sale said the world governing body, Fifa, introduced temporary dismissals to the laws of the game two or three years ago, and that was brought in for the local league for dissent.

“Any incident that we believe is worthy of a yellow card for dissent, we give the player a yellow card, or it’s often referred to as an orange card,” he said.

The NZ Football guidelines state that “the referee will indicate a temporary dismissal by showing a yellow card and then clearly pointing with both arms to the temporary dismissal area [usually the player’s technical area].

“So if you nut off at me, you get a yellow card and sit on the sideline for 10 minutes.

“You can’t put somebody back on in your place, and that impacts the team immediately because they are down one player,” Sale said.

Many other sports have had ‘sin bin’ systems for many years. In rugby, a yellow card warrants 10 minutes out of the game, and hockey operates a three-card system – green for a caution, yellow for a five-minute suspension, and red for sending-off.

Netball uses a system in which a player can be sent off for two minutes. Even in cricket, a player can be sent to the sideline for up to 30 minutes to cool their heels.

Sale said the policy had been well received throughout the competitions.

“The first game I went down to, one of the guys said this should have been in place years ago.”

Sale said there have been games where there have been no issues at all and there have been others where there have been one or two instances of players being sent to the sideline.

However, with only 12 referees on the league’s roster, players regularly have to officiate their own games, and that created problems getting consistency, he said.

“We still don’t have enough official referees to cover all the local games, and when you’ve got someone filling in from one of the teams, they are probably less likely to adopt it because they just don’t understand how it all works.”

In the long term, Sale said the policy could help in the future with the retention of referees.

“The biggest reason that anybody says they don’t want to referee is because they say they couldn’t handle the abuse.”

As for it being implemented in higher leagues, such as the Central League, W-League or the Capital Leagues, Sale said “it would have to be approved at board level and the difficulty is making it work because there are six different permutations how it can be used, and that they would probably like to see a full year’s trial somewhere else.”

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