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'Sin bins' get green light at IFAB general meeting

Football lawmakers have approved temporary dismissals, or "sin bins", at the lower levels of the sport. Other rule changes relating to VARs and penalty shootouts were also discussed at the IFAB annual general meeting.

The International Football Associations Board (IFAB) announced on Friday that it had approved the implementation of temporary dismissals as part of their annual general meeting at Wembley Stadium in London.

The new punishment, colloquially known as "sin bins", is an extension to yellow card offenses, where a referee can temporarily suspend a player from the field of play. The new rule will be implemented only at youth, grassroots and disability football.

IFAB - made up of the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and four representatives of FIFA - also approved the introduction of a fourth substitute in cup competitions in the case of extra time. The German football association (DFB) had approved similar measures for the German Cup in December.

Video assistant referees still a priority

FIFA president Gianni Infantino also said video assistant referees, or VARs, have a realistic chance of being used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Gianni Infantino (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Charisius)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino

"That is our aim. I'm very confident. The signs are encouraging," Infantino said in a press conference following the meeting. "The little hiccups we have seen are to do with the training of the referees, but they will be able to take decisions much faster when they are used more often."

VARs were first used at the Club World Cup in Japan in December. The four areas a VAR official could cover were goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity. Infantino said FIFA will also use it for the Confederations Cup, the Under-20 World Cup and the Club World Cup in 2017.

Tennis treatment for penalty shootouts

IFAB also are considering using a tennis tiebreak-type system in penalty shootouts to make the system fairer.

Fußball Champions-League Bayer Leverkusen - Atletico Madrid Elfmeter Tor für Madrid (Reuters/W. Rattay)

The order in penalty shootouts may soon follow tennis model

Teams currently alternate one by one in penalty shootouts, but IFAB says the team taking the first penalty has a 60 percent chance of winning. The new order proposal, described as ABBA, would replicate the switch of serve between tennis players in a tiebreak - team A taking the first penalty, team B taking the second and third, team A taking the fourth and fifth, and so on until each team has taken five.

"We believe the ABBA approach could remove that statistical bias and it's something we will look to trial," said Steward Regan, an IFAB board member and a Scottish FA chief executive.

dv/ (AFP, Reuters)

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