Football sin bins: 'Make them pay with time not money'

Jamaal Horne
Image caption Jamaal Horne has been a ref for 10 years

Jamaal Horne's been a referee for 10 years but, with the way things are going, he's worried there might not be many more of his profession.

He says there's been a "significant reduction" in people wanting to be referees, and both he and the Football Association say some of that is down to players abusing officials.

That's why sin bins - when players are temporarily sent off the pitch - are being introduced into English grassroots football from this season.

They'll be used if players shout abuse at a referee, but not everyone's excited.

'Fines aren't effective'

Currently, fines are handed out in lower league football when players are shown yellow and red cards - a system Jamaal doesn't think works.

"By and large, they'll be able to recover that money and still be able to sort of live life."

Jamaal officiates games in the Bet Victor and Southern leagues and has been training other referees, through the FA, on sin bins.

Players will be sent off the pitch for 10 minutes, and in any matches where they play under 90 minutes (like in kid's games), it will be eight minutes.

"If you take away time from someone, time is something that you can't replenish," Jamaal says.

Image caption "You what?"

Sin bins won't be replacing yellow and red cars, so severe tackles or abuse could still result in a player going off permanently.

And Jamaal wants to make clear that "this is not a situation where we are saying you cannot speak to the referee".

"Having a dialogue with the referee is part of football, even if the conversation is passionate or slightly heated.

"We are saying that it needs to be controlled passion."

'Introduced slowly'

Jamaal says he hasn't faced particularly bad abuse, but worries that new referees are getting put off.

"I was very worried about it at the beginning of my career," he says.

"I think referees need to understand that if they do train hard, if they do train smart, if they do listen to their more experienced reps and the referee coaches, they will receive very little dissent."

He's not concerned either about the Premier League not yet being introduced to sin bins.

"It should be introduced slowly. It should be introduced at a level of the game where it's more practical."

Sin bins were first tried out during the 2017-18 season, and extended to a total of 31 leagues in the 2018-19 campaign.

The FA found that there was a 38% total reduction in dissent across all leagues during the trial period last season.

Image caption Louis, Furkan, Chris and Danny

'It risks injuries'

We join Louis, Furkan, Chris and Danny for a friendly kick-about.

Even though Chris says you "need to be able to control yourself", he's not that keen on the idea of sin bins.

"A bit of healthy banter is alright," says Chris. "I think it loosens everyone up."

Danny agrees.

"On the field, it just changes the pace of the game really."

"I also think it would open up the opportunities for injuries to occur," he adds.

"Because you have those 10 minutes and your body naturally starts to cool down, then you've got redo it all again, which obviously takes time whilst you're playing the game."

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