Football will test blue cards for 10 minutes

A new ‘blue card’ will be introduced as part of football’s 10-minute no-bin testing.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will publish detailed protocols on Friday as football attempts to clamp down on abuse towards referees and cynical crowds.

The blue cards will form part of the trial involving rubbish bins and aims to provide greater protection for referees and could be trialled by the Football Association (FA) in next year’s Men’s and Women’s FA Cups.

The Athletic understands, however, that they will not be called up for next season’s Premier League.

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There are already containers for dissent in amateur and youth football in England and Wales, but referees have been using yellow cards, rather than blue ones. The IFAB first agreed in November to test it at the highest levels of the football pyramid.

The IFAB will give the green light to testing at the highest levels of the game at its next annual general meeting in Loch Lomond, Scotland, on March 2.

Other items on that agenda include testing ‘cooling off periods’ after clashes between players, punishing goalkeepers who waste time by conceding a corner and allowing only the team captain to approach the referee.

The IFAB is made up of the four UK associations, which have one vote each, and FIFA, which has four.

Any decision requires at least six votes to be approved.

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On Thursday, FIFA reiterated that while the issue will be discussed at the IFAB Annual General Assembly in March, there were no immediate plans to introduce it into elite football.

“FIFA wishes to clarify that reports regarding the so-called ‘blue card’ at elite levels of football are incorrect and premature,” football’s international governing body said in a statement.

“Any such testing, if implemented, should be limited to testing responsibly at lower levels, a position that FIFA intends to reiterate when this agenda item is discussed at the IFAB Annual General Assembly on March 2. “.


Chiellini’s foul on Saka has been used as an example of tactical fouls (LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sin containers: how do they work in grassroots football?

By Adam Leventhal

The FA introduced sin bins as punishment for dissent at all levels of grassroots football in the 2019-20 season, following a pilot in 31 leagues over the previous two terms. According to FA figures, those tests resulted in a 38 per cent reduction in dissent across all leagues, with 72 per cent of players, 77 per cent of coaches and 84 per cent of referees wanting continue with the change.

How does it all work?

Sin bins are signaled by the referee by showing a yellow card and pointing with both arms towards the sidelines.

In a 90-minute match, players guilty of dissent were penalized for 10 minutes, and for eight minutes in shorter matches.

There is no physical sin container; the player must go to his team’s technical area or leave the field and observe from the sideline with the rest of the non-playing personnel.

Like a player who has left the field to receive treatment for an injury, the referee may direct a player to return to the field of play during play.

A second temporary sending off in a match results in the offending player being sent off for a further 10 minutes, after which he may not rejoin the match, but may be substituted if the team has substitutions remaining.

The FA’s basic guidance on sin bins states that goalkeepers are covered by the same law as other players and can be condemned to the bin. The guide says: “As when a goalkeeper is sent off, any other player must enter the goal but the team must remain with 10 players. Upon returning, if during the game, the goalkeeper can become a field player, and then return to being a goalkeeper at the next interruption of play.

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(Oli Bufanda/AFP via Getty Images)