Nigel Owens: Top rugby referee backs football sin-bin plan

Referee Nigel Owens shows a yellow card during an Ospreys game
Nigel Owens will take charge of his 100th European Cup match when he officiates at the 2017 final

Rugby Union's leading referee Nigel Owens has backed plans to introduce "sin bins" in football.

The Football Association announced it will trial what it calls "temporary dismissals" in England's local league football in the 2017-18 season.

Players shown a yellow card for dissent will leave the field for 10 minutes - as they have in rugby union since 2000.

"I think football needs it. It will cut out the dissent, or certainly will help cut it out," said Owens.

The 47-year-old Welshman officiated the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and will take charge of his third successive European Champions Cup final when Saracens play Clermont Auvergne in Murrayfield on 13 May.

Owens believes the sin bin would discourage dissent and encourage managers to improve players' discipline - particularly if it leads to teams conceding goals while they are a man down.

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Nigel Owens: Referee gives ball boy a yellow card

"In rugby ... on average there are about seven or 10 points scored against the side that has had a player sin-binned," he added.

"A goal in football when someone is off the field and his team is down to 10 men would be a huge difference.

"And it will ensure that the manager instils discipline in his players as well and in the way they conduct themselves on the field as far as respect and dissent goes so it's hugely important I think that they do bring it in."

The FA plans to introduce the rule in England's step seven - six tiers below the National League - and the leagues below.

It will also be tested in Sunday League and male and female youth football.

Step seven is the bottom level of English football's National League System, which feeds into the country's professional leagues.

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