Blue cards to be introduced in football
The blue card should prevent dissent CREDIT: E+/simonkr
A blue card is to be introduced to football as part of sin-bin trials to be announced on Friday.
Telegraph Sport can reveal the game’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), has signed off on what would be the first new card to be used in the sport since the advent of yellow and red cards at the 1970 World Cup.
The revolutionary move will be announced by Ifab as part of sin-bin protocols that will see players removed from the field for 10 minutes if they commit a cynical foul or show dissent towards a match official.
The Football Association of Wales had planned to use a blue card during a sin-bin trial in grassroots competitions this season, with the colour chosen over the likes of orange in order to differentiate it clearly from a yellow or red card.
But the FAW failed to obtain clearance for the move and players sent to the sin-bin have been shown a yellow card instead.
Two blues equal a red
The new protocol announced on Friday will limit the new card to fouls that prevent a promising attack plus dissent, as well as confirming a player should be shown a red card if they receive two blue cards during a match or a combination of yellow and blue.
Top-tier competitions will be excluded from initial testing in the professional game in case the protocols require further refinement, but elite trials could still begin as soon as the summer.
That may include in the FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup, with the Football Association considering volunteering next season’s competitions for testing.
But sin-bins will not be used in this summer’s European Championship or next term’s Champions League after the president of Uefa, Aleksander Ceferin, told Telegraph Sport last month he was completely opposed to them, adding: “It’s not football anymore.”
The European governing body nevertheless could be forced to introduce them if, as expected, trials lead to them being added to the laws of the game.
Ifab, the board of which includes FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, first agreed in November to test the rugby-style measure in elite competitions such as the Premier League.
Sin-bins have worked successfully at tackling dissent for many years at grass roots and youth level and the new trials will also see them used to punish tactical fouling.
As reported by Telegraph Sport, Ifab also approved a global trial of another rugby union rule that would see only team captains allowed to speak to the match referee about a decision.
The trials have been fast-tracked amid dire warnings from Ifab’s leaders about player behaviour, of which they said: “This might be the cancer that kills football.”
Ifab’s annual business meeting decided that sin-bins were key to clamping down on this, as well as on any foul that prevents a promising attack but does not meet the threshold for a red card.
One example given during the meeting was Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shirt-pull on England’s Bukayo Saka in the final of Euro 2020, which only resulted in a yellow card.