Football's plan to introduce a blue card now IN DOUBT – with today's announcement cancelled – after huge backlash over bizarre rule changes
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Football's plan to introduce a blue card now IN DOUBT – with today's announcement cancelled – after huge backlash over bizarre rule changes

Mar 29, 2024

Plans to introduce a trial of blue cards into football have been ‘thrown into doubt’ following a remarkable backlash against the proposals, according to reports. 

Football fans and pundits were left baffled by the news on Thursday that the new card would be trialled to sin-bin players guilty of minor offences for ten minutes – with raged supporters claiming the new rule change would ruin the game. 

And now proposals from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) have now been put on the back-burner following the growing opposition to the the idea – including from some of the biggest power-makers in the game – according to the Telegraph.

Mail Sport reported this week how supporters had been up in arms over the idea, with some saying the game was ‘finished’ – while pundits like Paul Merson claimed it would make football ‘boring’.

The latest report claims that unrest over the decision was summed up by a statement from FIFA, which confirmed sin-bin trials would not include top-tier competitions.  

Proposals to bring a trial of blue cards into football has been thrown into doubt after a huge backlash from fans and pundits

Proposals to bring a trial of blue cards into football has been thrown into doubt after a huge backlash from fans and pundits 

Blue cards would have resulted in a ten-minute sin-bin for fouls that prevent a promising attack

Blue cards would have resulted in a ten-minute sin-bin for fouls that prevent a promising attack

‘Any such trials, if implemented, should be limited to testing in a responsible manner at lower levels,’ it read. 

Further division on the concept was seen in UEFA too – with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin declaring he would not allow a trial in the European Championship, Champions League, Europa League or Europa Conference League 

WHAT IS A BLUE CARD?

Referees will have the power to show blue cards for cynical fouls that stop threatening attacks and dissent towards a match official.

The card may also be issued to confirm a player should be shown a red card if they receive two blue cards in a match or a combination of a yellow and a blue. 

The revolutionary move would be the first new colour of card introduced into top end football since red and yellow cards were adopted at the 1970 World Cup. 

Trials will not be conducted during top-tier matches, though FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup games could be used for testing next year. 

The FA are reportedly considering volunteering next season’s competitions. 

An announcement had been planned for Friday, but instead the trial looks to be in serious doubt – with the future of blue cards set to be debated at the next annual general meeting of IFAB next month, the report goes on. 

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou, Everton‘s Sean Dyche, and Crystal Palace‘s Roy Hodgson are among the Premier League managers to have previously voiced their opposition to ‘blue cards’.

Fans also took to X, formerly Twitter, to air their anger accusing the ‘rich’ of ‘stealing our beautiful game’ and being left baffled by the pointless move. 

One fan on X said the didn’t recognise the beautiful game anymore, while another said it would slow the game down even more. 

A third added: ‘Game is gone. If this comes in football is completely finished.’ 

It comes amid increasing concern from fans and coaches surrounding technology in the game, with a host of VAR mix-ups and mistakes seen in the Premier League this season that has angered coaches. 

Premier League chief Tony Scholes admitting yesterday the technology still needs fixing five years on since it was first introduced. 

With the idea of blue cards triggering a huge discussion within the football community this week, former Arsenal star Merson was one of the biggest vocal opponents. 

He told Sky Sports: ‘You’d get 10 players sitting behind the ball the whole time, it’d be the most boring football ever. It’s an absolute waste of time, a waste of time.’ 

But fans and pundits raged at proposals, which detailed that a red card should be shown if a player received two blues or a combination of a blue and yellow 

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's yellow card for fouling Bukayo Saka in the 2020 Euros final has been held up as an example that would be given as a blue card under proposals

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini’s yellow card for fouling Bukayo Saka in the 2020 Euros final has been held up as an example that would be given as a blue card under proposals

Blue cards have been used this season during a sin-bin trial in grassroots football in Wales, with the colour chosen to differentiate it clearly from a yellow or red card.

One example of a good use of the sin bin was seen in then Euro 2020 final when Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini pulled the shirt of England’s Bukayo Saka and only received a yellow card.

Under the new rules, Chiellini could have been forced to spend 10 minutes on the touchline, reducing Italy to 10 men against England’s 11.

Poll

Should ‘blue cards’ be introduced in football?

  • Yes 853 votes
  • No 1650 votes
  • Don’t know 125 votes

The introduction of new cards has already taken place on a smaller scale on the continent, with Portugal recently adopting a new measure to recognise good sportsmanship. 

There has been some positive reception to the idea of blue cards. 

FIFA referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina backed the idea of sin bins, saying: ‘The idea is to start working on this as soon as possible to provide those who would be involved in the trial a protocol to be used. The idea is to get it soon.

‘The trial was very successful in grassroots competitions. Now we are talking of a higher level, very probably professional or even high professional football.’

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham confirmed their interest in using sin bins back in November.

‘When we were looking at sin bins – protocol clearly has to be developed – the areas we were looking at were dissent, where it’s worked very, very well in the grassroots game in England,’ he said.

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