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By ESPN Staff
Feb 10, 2009

FIFA board considers sin bins and more subs

A plan to experiment with sin-bins for yellow card offences will be discussed this month by soccer's law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

The proposal from the Irish Football Association will be considered by the IFAB at its annual meeting near Belfast on Feb. 28.

The board comprises the four British associations and four representatives from world soccer's governing body FIFA, with a three-quarters majority needed to change any law.

Raymond Kennedy, president of the Irish FA, told Reuters: "We are still looking into the details of how it would work but the basic idea is if someone gets a card from the referee they would be sent to a sin-bin for say five or 10 minutes as in rugby.

"If their team got another during that period they would be down to nine men and it would certainly help improve discipline on the field. It would also cut down on a lot of paperwork and disciplinary meetings later.

"The offence would be dealt with on the day and the team offended against would be the team to benefit. I hope the board agrees to this, we see a lot of merit in it and I am hoping they sanction an experiment at youth level for a season or so," said Kennedy.

Another proposal being considered, from the Scottish FA, is to increase the amount of substitutes that can be used from three to four when a match goes to extra-time.

The IFAB will also consider a plan to extend halftime from 15 to 20 minutes and a clarification of the wording of the offside law.

The new wording relates to the type of incident that arose at a Euro 2008 match in Berne in June when Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring in a 3-0 win but appeared to be offside because Italy defender Christian Panucci was off the pitch.

The goal was correctly awarded by referee Peter Frojdfeldt. Initially his decision was widely criticised, although he interpreted the law to the letter.

The new wording seeks to erase any doubt that even if the defender leaves the field, he is still "active" as far as offside is concerned.

It would read: "Any defending player leaving the field of play for any reason without the referee's permission shall, until he returns to the field ... be considered to be on his own goalline or touchline for the purposes of offside."

FIFA's proposals include one that halftime should be extended from 15 to 20 minutes, saying that in certain stadiums the location of the dressing room is so far from the pitch that players spend most of the break walking there and back.

The board will also consider recent experiments in under-19 European qualifying matches using two additional assistant referees placed behind each goalline.

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