HomeSportsBlue cards for sin bins during football matches to be trialled

Blue cards for sin bins during football matches to be trialled


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Sin bins could be introduced in professional football if plans by one of the sport’s lawmakers get the go-ahead.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will publish the detailed protocols for the trials on Friday, Sky News understands, with the new ruling expected to include blue cards.

In the trials, blue cards will give referees the power to send players off for 10 minutes for dissent or cynical fouls.

Two blue cards would result in a player’s dismissal for the rest of the match, as would a blue and a yellow card.

The IFAB is set to give the go-ahead for the extended sin bin trial in senior levels of the game at its annual meeting on 2 March in Glasgow.

However, the likelihood of the cards becoming a feature of top-flight football has been thrown into doubt.

In a post on social media site X, FIFA called the reports “premature” and said: “Any such trials, if implemented, should be limited to testing in a responsible manner at lower levels.”

It intends to reiterate this position at the AGM, the post added.

There have already been trials in amateur and youth football in both England and Wales and the sport’s lawmaking body agreed in November last year that they should be implemented at higher levels of football.

Board members had also supported a proposed trial where only the team captain may approach the referee in certain major game situations.

Red cards result in a player being sent off, as it did here for Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate. Pic: PA

The chief executive of the Football Association, Mark Bullingham, who is also a board member, said at the time the areas they are looking at are dissent and tactical fouls, among others.

The trial has worked “very, very well” regarding dissent in the grassroots game, he said.

“I think frustration for fans watching games when they see a promising counter-attack that’s ruined by that and the question of whether a yellow card is sufficient for that has led to us looking at whether that should be involved in the protocol as well,” he added.

“The starting point was looking at player behaviour and dissent – we’re then looking at whether we should extend it into other areas, such as tactical fouls, as well.”

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Sky News sports correspondent Rob Harris reports sin bins could be tested in the FA Cup in England in what would be one of the biggest changes to football since the introduction of red and yellow cards at the 1970 World Cup.

Blue cards have already been trialled for sin bins in grassroots football, including in Wales.

Pic: PA
Pic: PA

Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA referees committee who sits on the IFAB’s technical subcommittee, said last year the trials at grassroots level have been “very successful”.

The proposed trials would “very probably” involve professional football, he said.

It comes the day after the Premier League admitted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is causing delay and spoiling fans’ enjoyment.

The league’s chief football officer, Tony Scholes, said “the whole reputation of VAR” is affected by the number of VAR checks and the lack of clear communication for fans in stadiums.

“The VAR experience is poor… the in-stadium experience for the supporter – it’s nowhere near good enough. We know it’s not,” he said.

“It affects supporters’ enjoyment of the game, and we know it needs to change.”

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