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Football Association considering sin-bins in FA Cup matches

The FA Cup could become a testing ground for a major rule change, according to The Times.

There are plans to trial sin-bins for players guilty of dissent or blatant tactical fouls in the competition.

The game’s law-making body, the International FA Board (Ifab), is preparing to rubber-stamp trials for the controversial measure in professional football at their next meeting.

The proposed rule would empower referees to temporarily dismiss players for ten minutes as punishment for cynical fouls or disrespectful behaviour towards officials. 

The details still need ironing out, but sources indicate the FA is seriously considering implementing the trial in the FA Cup next season.

This development follows successful pilot studies in England and Wales’ amateur and youth leagues, where sin-bins were solely used for dissent.

Ifab is expected to formally greenlight wider trials at professional levels as early as next season.

“We are now talking of bringing it to a higher level, very probably professional or even high professional football,” confirmed chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina.

“Certainly, we need to have something that works or is working for top football.”

Examples of potential sin-bin offences include the infamous shirt-pull by Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on England’s Bukayo Saka in the 2020 European Championship final, which only drew a yellow card.

Ifab, composed of the four British associations and FIFA, requires at least six votes to pass any rule change. Next month’s meeting will address other potential rule tweaks, including the captain-only rule.

Similar to rugby, only team captains would be allowed to approach referees. This is aimed at curbing player misconduct.

They are also considering announcing VAR decisions and the introduction of a semi-automated offside system.

Trials using microchip-equipped balls and artificial intelligence-assisted technology to improve offside calls, as seen at the Club World Cup, are set for further evaluation.

These potential changes signal a proactive approach to improving football’s flow and respect for officials. 

The FA Cup trials will offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of sin-bins in the professional game.

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