FA considers the sin-bin option

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The Independent Online

Errant footballers may soon find themselves cooling their heels in the sin-bin. Concerned at the growing tide of red cards, the Football League has proposed to the Football Association referees' committee that sin-bins be tried out, and the FA has set up a working party which will produce a report next month.

Errant footballers may soon find themselves cooling their heels in the sin-bin. Concerned at the growing tide of red cards, the Football League has proposed to the Football Association referees' committee that sin-bins be tried out, and the FA has set up a working party which will produce a report next month.

Sin-bins have been used successfully in rugby league and union as an intermediate stage between yellow and red cards, but have never been tried in football.

"At the moment a proposal has been put forward," an FA spokesman said yesterday. "It is being studied by a specially-appointed working party and in October they will put forward a report as to whether or not they feel it should be proposed to the International Board early next year."

Any change to the rules of the game have to be approved by the International Board, which is comprised of four members of the game's international ruling body, Fifa, and four representatives from the four British associations.

The International Board usually meets in February or March, so any changes would not come into force until "next season at the very earliest", the FA spokesman said.

"It's too early to talk about the mechanics and we haven't even discussed how it would work but it would be fair to say we are quite keen on the idea," the Football League's head of communications, John Nagle, said.

The FA also confirmed that it has tightened its Doping Control Programme following Rio Ferdinand's missed drugs test last September. The FA spokesman Andrin Cooper said: "Once selected for testing, a player cannot now leave the presence of a Doping Control officer. We have also increased testing by 25 per cent on last season, resulting in around 1,600 tests at all levels of the game.

He emphasised: "Players know they can't miss a test. After Rio, the message has hit home."

The Manchester United defender was banned for eight months for failing to take a test at the club's Carrington training headquarters last season, and he was due to begin his comeback in last night's scheduled visit to Old Trafford of Liverpool.

Cooper added: "We opened up our procedures to external scrutiny and invited Lord Coe to conduct a review. He had been publicly critical of the testing procedures in football before that, but upon review found that we were on the right track."

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