Blue cards to be introduced into football for sin-bins under Ifab trials
Footballers could be shown blue cards and sent to a sin-bin for dissent and cynical fouls under plans to be unveiled by the body that decides the laws of the game.
Sitting alongside the current yellow and red cards, a blue card would result in a player being removed from the field of play for 10 minutes. At risk of muddying the palette, there will also be the possibility to mix colours. If a player returns from the sin-bin and receives another blue card, they would also be shown a red card and be permanently dismissed from the game. A combination of one blue and one yellow, meanwhile, would also make a red.
The recommendations are set to be made by the International Football Association Board (Ifab) on Friday ahead of trials across competitions.
The innovation is part of a concerted attempt by powerbrokers across international football to improve “participant behaviour” in the game, after a rise in on-field altercations. There is a commonly held belief that such behaviour trickles down into spectator behaviour and incidents in grassroots sport with real life consequences for players and referees.
Tightened rules that prevent players from confronting a referee, and increased financial sanctions for those who break them, were introduced across English football at the start of this season.
In the autumn, meanwhile, Ifab announced that they would expand trials of sin-bins after successful implementation in a number of grassroots competitions, many of them in England.
The Football Association is reported to be exploring the possibility of using the FA Cup as part of the trials process, meaning a disgruntled multimillionaire could be shown a blue card in as little as 12 months’ time.
The trials have not been authorised for top-level competitions, however, meaning there will be no sin-bins in the Premier League, and the proposals have not met with support from Uefa who have no plans to roll out sin-bins to either this summer’s men’s European Championship or the Champions League.
Alexander Ceferin, the president of Uefa, has described sin-bins as “the death of football” and he has not been alone in expressing discontent. Already scarred by the problematic introduction of video refereeing technology, prominent figures within the game have been derisive.
“Just bin the whole idea, forget about it. I don’t know why they keep interjecting themselves into the game”, was the verdict of the Tottenham manager, Ange Postecoglou.
But the chief executive of the FA, Mark Bullingham, who sits on the board of the Ifab, has defended the innovation. “The success of sin-bins in the grassroots game has been prevention, rather than cure,” he said in December. “You get to a point where players know the threat of sin-bins, so don’t transgress. And we would hope that it would make the same change [higher up the game].”
Ifab has been approached for comment.