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High-profile trials of referees using a blue card to signal 10 minutes in the sin bin could take place as soon as the summer, according to The Telegraph’s Ben Rumsby.
The initiative was approved by the sport’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), and will be officially announced Friday, according to Rumsby. The IFAB is then expected to sign off on extended tests of blue cards and sin bins in senior levels of football during its annual meeting in March, Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol reports.
The punishment would occur when players commit cynical fouls or show dissent. Two blue cards would result in a red card and dismissal, as would one blue and one yellow card.
Sin-bin trials have already been held in amateur and youth football in England and Wales. Encouraged by their apparent success, the IFAB recommended sin bins be implemented at higher levels of the game.
FIFA, however, called Thursday’s reports “incorrect and premature.”
“Any such trials, if implemented, should be limited to testing in a responsible manner at lower levels, a position that FIFA intends to reiterate when this agenda item is discussed at the IFAB AGM on 1 March,” the governing body said in a brief statement.
Mark Bullingham, the chief executive of the English Football Association who’s also on the IFAB board, said last November that a key aim of sin bins is to try to address tactical fouls – when a promising attack is scuppered by a deliberate illegal challenge. These incidents usually result in a yellow card.
The tougher stance on dissent, along with another potential trial that would only allow captains to discuss decisions with referees, is aimed at clamping down on poor player behavior.
The English FA could volunteer to use the FA Cup as part of the trials, Rumsby adds.
Sin bins won’t be introduced at Euro 2024 in the summer or next season’s Champions League. However, UEFA will have to include blue cards and sin bins in its competitions if the IFAB eventually adds them to the laws of the game.
Even if the trial is deemed successful, the new rules can’t become part of the sport’s official laws until 2026-27 at the earliest, according to Dale Johnson of ESPN.