Blue cards postponed after FIFA issues statement

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has postponed a decision on introducing blue cards to represent a sin-bin offense, according to The Times. The decision was expected to be announced on Friday, but backlash to the proposal led to the board pushing the decision till further notice.

Last November, IFAB approved a sin-bin trial, which would allow referees to penalize players by sitting them out for 10 minutes for offenses deemed more serious than a yellow card but less severe than a red card. FIFA issued a statement on Thursday pouring cold water over the proposal, stating that reports of blue cards at elite levels being incorrect and premature. FIFA intends to reiterate its position when discussing the agenda item at the IFAB annual general meeting on March 2.

The choice of a blue card was to ensure visibility and distinction from the yellow and red cards. Among the proposed rules, two blue cards in a match would result in a red card for a player, and one blue card coupled with a yellow card in the same match would merit a sending-off offense.

England's FA has volunteered to experiment with the new rule from the 2024-25 FA Cup and Women's FA Cup, and the MLS is also considering testing the rule. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is against the measure, insisting that "it's not football anymore." The rule change is also being fast-tracked, whereby only captains can speak to referees. Player misconduct is cited as a potential cancer that can kill football.

Christina Unkel, CBS Sports rules expert, discusses blue cards, understanding the skepticism from traditionalists but believing that it could improve the game and reduce fouls. England's grassroots game began testing sin-bins in the 2019-20 season, though referees used yellow cards and pointing arms towards the touchline. The trial was considered a success, with many approving of the rule change. The IFAB has not set a date for the trial of professional sin-bins, and competitions have already opted into and out of the decision.

According to The Athletic, the FA expressed an open mind about testing the new rule in the men's and women's FA Cup competitions next season. The MLS is also considering experimenting with the rule. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin stated that this summer's Euros will not be a testing ground for the new measure, with Ceferin himself against the proposal, claiming that "it's not football anymore."

Read more