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IFAB Introduces Blue Card for Football Sin Bin Trials
- Updated: February 9, 2024
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is set to introduce a new blue card as part of trials for sin bins in professional football, according to sources familiar with the matter. This development aims to address issues of player behavior and respect for match officials, with temporary dismissals being implemented for dissent and specific tactical offenses.
The concept of sin bins has been successfully trialed in lower levels of football since the 2019-20 season, where players are required to leave the field for 10 minutes if they display disrespect towards officials. The new trial at higher levels of football is expected to last for at least 12 months and will encompass situations where a player commits an intentional foul against an opponent in an attacking scenario, not warranting a red card.
One such incident cited is Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini’s action of pulling back England’s Bukayo Saka during the Euro 2020 final. The introduction of the blue card aims to provide a distinct signal to players, coaches, and spectators, differentiating it from the traditional yellow card.
In grassroots football leagues in England, where referee abuse has been a prevalent issue, the yellow card has been utilized to indicate the offense since the 2019-20 season across 31 leagues. However, the IFAB opted for the blue card to ensure clarity and differentiation in higher-level competitions.
Despite the introduction of the blue card, it will not be visible in top-tier competitions such as the Premier League, LaLiga, UEFA Champions League, Euro 2024, or the Copa America. The trial during the upcoming season will be restricted to lower levels of football, with the earliest possible inclusion in the Laws of the Game being the 2026-27 season.
While various trials aimed at addressing dissent have been conducted in lower leagues in the past, such as moving a free kick forward by 10 yards, they have not been incorporated into the Laws of the Game. Limited support for sin bins among top leagues has been reported, with the Football Association declining to test them in competitions such as the Women’s Super League and the FA Cup.
FIFA issued a statement refuting reports of the blue card’s introduction at elite levels of football, emphasizing that any trials should be conducted responsibly at lower levels. The governing body intends to reiterate this position during the IFAB AGM scheduled for March 1st.
In summary, the introduction of the blue card as part of sin bin trials aims to address issues of player behavior and respect for officials in professional football. While trials will be conducted at lower levels, it will not be visible in top-tier competitions, with limited support reported among top leagues. FIFA underscores the importance of responsible testing and discussion on this matter.
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By- Sahiba Suri