About Rules & Regulations Sin bins

Sin Bins

From the start of the 2019-20 season, Sin Bins are to be introduced across the grassroots football for cases of dissent.

Specifically, Sin Bins will be in operation from Step 5 (Thurlow Nunn Premier Division) and below of the male game, Tier 3 (FA Women’s National League) and below of the female game, all youth football and in all applicable County Cups.

Dissent, defined as a challenge to the authority of the official(s) through the use of language and/or action, has been specifically chosen in an attempt to improve the behaviour, atmosphere and experience for all involved in this level of the game. As a result of this immediate sanction being issued, the £10 administration fee usually associated with a yellow-card offence has been removed.

From July 1st 2019, all cases of Dissent during matches at the levels above, including pre-season friendlies, must be dealt with by using the Sin Bin process. For all 90 minute matches, the Sin Bin period will be 10 minutes. For all matches which last under 90 minutes, the Sin Bin period will be 8 minutes.

It is important to emphasise that using offensive, insulting or abusive language or gestures is not dissent and remains a red-card offence.


With such a significant alteration to the Laws of the Game, team managers, club secretaries, players and referees will be required to attend training through their leagues. The recommendation is that team managers or captains of open-age teams attend the training; team managers of youth teams at U12s to U18s level attend and club secretaries of clubs that run teams from U7s to U11s level attend.To date, we have secured the following training dates with leagues, with further information available through each league secretary.

League / RA


                    Start Time


Bury & District Sunday League

Sunday, May 5th


              Bury Town FC

           Bury Schools' League

                Monday, May 20th 


        British Sugar Social Club

      Suffolk & Ipswich League 1

                Tuesday, May 21st 


          Ransomes Sports Club

   Ipswich & Suffolk Youth Lge 1

                Tuesday, May 21st


                  Suffolk FA

   Ipswich & Suffolk Youth Lge 2

             Wednesday, May 22nd



Lowestoft Referee Association




        Suffolk & Ipswich League 2

                Tuesday, May 28th


          Ransomes Sports Club

Ipswich Referee Association

                 Monday, June 3rd


          Ransomes Sports Club

Bury Referee Association

Monday, June 24th


                  Bury Town FC

             Suffolk WAYS League

               Wednesday, June 19th


                 Victory Ground

              Suffolk Youth League

              Wednesday, June 12th


           Copleston High School

 Suffolk Referee Association

Thursday, June 13th


                    Suffolk FA

Lowestoft & District League

Monday, June 17th


             Lowestoft Town FC

Norfolk & Suffolk Vets' League

Friday, June 21st


                 Diss Town FC

Sudbury, Haverhill & Dist League

Wednesday, June 26th


          Sudbury Snooker Centre

Suffolk Girls’ & Women’s League

Monday, July 1st


                  Suffolk FA

        Thurlow Nunn Youth League

                  Monday, July 15th


                    Suffolk FA

Ipswich Sunday Football League

Monday, July 22nd


                    Suffolk FA

Suffolk County Schools' FA




The preference is for training to be held with league officials, team officials and match officials all in the same room at the same time, so everyone has confidence the same messages are being given to all.  A limited number of further training sessions will be advertised once all league training has been confirmed, including sessions with local Referee Associations.


Matchday Process


  • Applies only to active players only (those on the field of play)
  • Does not apply to substitutes and coaching staff


  • The referee will record the name of the offending player
  • A yellow card will be issued
  • The referee will point towards the touchline where the player will join their coaching team and substitutes (there is no specific Sin Bin area)


  • The Sin Bin period only commences when the referee restarts play
  • The referee will include any lost time (i.e injury delay)
  • The referee is the sole arbitrator of time and as to when the player can return (permission can be given when the ball is in play). In practice, this will work in a similar way to how a player is invited to return to the field of play following treatment of an injury

Offending Player

  • Cannot be substituted until the Sin Bin period has expired
  • Can take part in a penalty shootout – even if the Sin Bin period has not expired (i.e. end of extra time)
  • Must be in the Sin Bin for active playing time (i.e. Sin Bin to continue into the second half or into extra-time if required)
  • Defined as being in the Sin Bin from the moment they are cautioned for Dissent (even if play has not yet restarted)
  • Any player who commits a further yellow or red card offence whilst in the Sin Bin will not be able to take any further part in the game and cannot be substituted

On-Field Sanctions

As of the 2019-20 season, all dissent cautions must be dealt with via the Sin Bin process whereas cautions for all other offences (unsporting behaviour, persistent infringement etc) remain unchanged. Repeat offenders will be sanctioned as per the guidelines below.

  • Any player who commits a further yellow or red card offence whilst in the Sin Bin will not be able to take any further part in the game and cannot be substituted
  • Any player who receives a non-dissent yellow card at any time on the field of play after serving an initial sin bin period can continue to play
  • Any player who receives a Second dissent sanction after serving an initial Sin Bin period will receive a Second Sin Bin period. At the end of that period, the player can take no further part in the game, but can be substituted providing the team concerned has not used all of their permitted substitutes
  • Any player who receives a Second dissent sanction and has already had a non-dissent caution will take no further part in the game and cannot be substituted

The below chart will be provided to all attendees at the training. A downloadable version is in the Related Documents section at the foot of the page.

About Rules Regulations Sin Bin Matrix 2019

frequently asked questions

Yes - we want the player to avoid injury and the purpose of the Sin Bin is to remove the offender from play

In any match which lasts for a duration of 90 minutes, then the offender will be placed in the Sin Bin for 10 minutes. For all other matches the time in the Sin Bin will be 8 minutes. It is important to remember that the time served in the Sin Bin must be active playing time and the referee will therefore include any lost time (ie injury delay)

As long as the referee follows the correct procedure then there should be no issues. Referees will need to note down the time of issuing the Sin Bin

As the use of Sin Bins is incorporated into the Laws of the Game, they will be mandatory across all Suffolk FA county leagues. In addition, Sin Bins will be mandatory in all Suffolk FA county cup competitions except for the Suffolk Premier Cup 

If it is the player's second Sin Bin and they are not permitted to return then the game will be abandoned