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Sin bins and five other weird and wonderful football rule changes

| 17.01.2019

Football usually gets it right when it comes to changes in the law. Offside, VAR and three points for a win have all been a resounding success over the last 40 years. Now a new change is coming.

From the 2019-2020 season, the FA will introduce sin bins to step seven and below of the non-league pyramid.  This will allow referees to issue a temporary dismissal of 10 minutes for dissent.

Our traders aren’t ruling out the trial being a success, and go 16/1 about the Premier League introducing sin bins for the start of the 2020-2021 season.

That got us thinking about other weird and wonderful rule changes. Here are five of the best (and worst) in recent history.


Fed-up of foul throws? Then you’d probably like the idea of kick-ins. The Diadora League – equivalent to the National League South – trialled the scheme during the 1994-95 season.

The idea was to provide more opportunities to attack. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t last, with most sides using kick-ins to simply pump the ball up the pitch. They haven’t been seen again since.

Green cards

Fair play and respect are often talked about as being in decline when it comes to modern day football. So Serie B sought to redress the balance in 2015 with the introduction of the green card.

The card was awarded to a player who performed an “extraordinary act” on the pitch, according to league president Andrea Abodi.

Vicenza winger Cristian Galano was the first man to receive one. He admitted in their match against Virtus Entella that the ball went out of play for a goal kick, rather than a corner.

ABBA penalties

The authorities really thought it was a case of the winner takes it all when it came to a penalty shootout. But their solution – ABBA penalties – has already met it’s Waterloo.

Players, referee and fans alike were often left dumbfounded at which system was being used in a particular game or competition. As a result, they were discontinued in November 2018.

Golden goal

Is there a crueller way to lose a match than golden goal? Ex-Alaves defender Delfi Geli would probably tell you no. He scored an own-goal golden goal to win Liverpool the 2001 UEFA Cup.

Senegal also suffered golden goal heartbreak in the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, while Dagenham & Redbridge are the only English side to miss out on promotion via the controversial method.

The silver goal, which saw the game ended at the end of the first period of extra-time if a goal had been scored, was discontinued in 2004.

Two points for a home win, three points for an away

Jimmy Hill’s idea to introduce three points for a win was an enormous success in 1981. So we’re not sure what the Alliance Premier League – now National League – were thinking in 1983.

In a bid to encourage sides to attack more away from home, the league agreed to alter the rules and make it two points for a home win and three points for an away win.

The rule was swiftly dropped four years later when automatic promotion and relegation with the Football League was established for the first time.

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.