Blue Cards Absent from Latest Changes by Football’s Lawmakers

REUTERS/Amr Alfiky
FIFA Beach World Cup UAE 2024 – Final – Brazil v Italy – Dubai Design District Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 25, 2024 FIFA president Gianni Infantino after the match

A controversial sin bin trial featuring blue cards was absent from the latest changes made by football’s lawmakers to improve player behaviour on Saturday.

It was reported in February that blue cards were set to be part of a trial of sin bins at higher levels of the professional game.

Details of the trial were believed to have been close to publication by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.

But the negative response to the proposal from Premier League managers like Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou played a role in the trial details being delayed.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Friday that he “wasn’t aware” blue cards were intended to be used in the trial and said his organisation was “completely opposed” to the idea.

Sin-bin yellow cards will continue to be trialled at grassroots level instead.

“If the trials at the lower levels work, of course the conversation continues throughout the pyramid,” said the English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham after IFAB’s annual general meeting near Loch Lomond, Scotland.

“I don’t think that was ever the intention for the trial to start in the Premier League.”

Stronger enforcement on time-wasting goalkeepers was the major development to emerge from the meeting.

Fans could be encouraged to join in countdowns on goalkeepers holding on to the ball too long.

In competitions taking part in the trial, goalkeepers will be able to hold onto the ball for eight seconds and the sanction for holding on too long would be a corner or a throw-in in line with the penalty spot, rather than an indirect free-kick.

Under current guidelines, ‘keepers are supposed to only hold onto the ball for a maximum of six seconds, but the rule is rarely strictly enforced.

The other two trials approved by IFAB are designed to help referees regulate player behaviour.

Referees now have the option to create captain-only zones and cooling-off areas in the event of mass confrontations.