Sin bin trials force Anglian Combination committee to defend move

Anglian Combination referee, for Division One and below, will also have to deal with sin bins this season. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anglian Combination referee, for Division One and below, will also have to deal with sin bins this season. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ahead of a new punishment for dissent being trialled in the Anglian Combination this season, clubs in our region are eagerly awaiting full details of how new sin bins will be put in to practice.

Players will get 10 minutes in the sin bin if they are booked for dissent. 

PHOTO: Nick ButcherPlayers will get 10 minutes in the sin bin if they are booked for dissent. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The management committee of the Anglian Combination Football League have defended the decision to involve local clubs in a trial for ‘sin bins’ during the new season.

Over 90 teams are set to see the trial affect their matches during 2017-18, which will see players booked for dissent also spending 10 minutes away from the pitch as an additional punishment.

Similar to the system successfully established in rugby union, the Football Association have selected the Anglian Combination as one of 32 leagues selected out of around 250 from around the country which had applied.

The FA have decided to act on dissent as the offence amounted to 24 per cent of all cautions during the 2016-17 campaign and supports its Respect campaign, urging more consideration and protection for referees.

The Anglian Combination is one of 32 leagues involved in the sin bin trial. Picture: Bryan GrintThe Anglian Combination is one of 32 leagues involved in the sin bin trial. Picture: Bryan Grint

The temporary dismissals are not being introduced into the Premier Division locally but from Division One and below, with teams having the current £10 administration fee for cautions for dissent waived during the trial.

Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination management committee member, Chris Brownbridge, has released a statement to clubs on the issue ahead of a special general meeting being held on Thursday, August 10.

“This is being sent to all of our member clubs in order to explain the reasons why the league volunteered for the trial in the first instance and also the reasons behind us not being able to consult you beforehand,” Brownbridge said.

“Leagues across the country were contacted by the national FA to discuss the possibility of a trial on temporary dismissals.

“A brief on this was shown to league secretaries across the nation which covered how this process would work, how it would be administrated and how it would potentially be officiated.

“The leagues were then asked to apply if they felt they would like this to be involved in the initial trial. Around 250 leagues did so and the Anglian Combination was one of the 32 leagues chosen.

“The issue however was the timeframe given to make a decision on whether the league would like to apply or not. This meant that there was no time to be able to consult our member clubs before putting the league forward for the trial.”

With no fourth officials at lower levels of non-league football, referees already under pressure to make correct decisions will have to keep an eye on the time elapsed for players in the sin bin as well.

Yet the management committee of the Anglian Combination would rather help shape the significant addition to the game than watch from the sidelines.

Brownbridge continued: “It is our belief that we would rather be involved in the pilot and have the opportunity to voice any concerns raised either by ourselves or you the clubs that make up our league, than have no say and then have this imposed anyway, next season without discussion, as we believe may be the case.

“The league fully understands the initial reaction to this, as we are very much a league run for and by our clubs, but in this instance we feel like we have acted in the best interests of the league and given ourselves the best opportunity to give feedback on this initiative moving forwards.

“Full details of this will be discussed at our SGM on August 10, 2017. I just wanted to address this matter before that, as giving our member clubs as many facts as possible is important to me and the committee.”

While well-intentioned, the trial has created a degree of uncertainty for Anglian Combination clubs heading into the new season.

However, the involvement of the league, which includes clubs from Norfolk and north Suffolk, has been welcomed by Norfolk FA’s football administration manager, Matt Carpenter.

“With a quarter of all cautions being for dissent this is clearly a problem within the game that needs to be addressed and hopefully the introduction of sin bins will help with this as when a player shows dissent there will be a direct and immediate consequence on the day,” said Carpenter.

“It is pleasing that locally the Anglian Combination have been chosen as one of the pilot leagues as this will provide our referees and clubs with the opportunity to provide their feedback on the pilot.”

The 32 leagues selected for the trials around the country include a mixture of Saturday and Sunday, male, female, adult and youth leagues.

The league’s special general meeting is being held at Easton College at 7.30pm on Thursday, August 10, with clubs required to send at least one representative.

• Do you think the sin bin trials are a good idea? Cast your vote in the poll above.

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