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Blue cards to be introduced in football

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A new blue card is set to be introduced to football as part of sin-bin trials, which are to be officially announced on Friday.

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The blue card should prevent dissent CREDIT: E+/simonkr

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s lawmakers, has approved this groundbreaking move, marking the first addition to the traditional yellow and red cards since their introduction at the 1970 World Cup.

Telegraph Sport has learned that the new protocol will see players being temporarily removed from the field for 10 minutes if they commit a cynical foul or display dissent towards a match official.

The Football Association of Wales initially planned to trial the use of a blue card in grassroots competitions this season for sin-bin purposes. The choice of blue was made to clearly distinguish it from the existing yellow and red cards. However, due to lack of clearance, players sent to the sin-bin have been shown a yellow card instead.

Under the new protocol, the blue card will only be used for fouls that prevent a promising attack or for dissent. Players receiving two blue cards during a match or a combination of yellow and blue will be shown a red card.

Initial testing of sin-bins will exclude top-tier competitions in the professional game, but elite trials could commence as early as the summer. The FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup may volunteer for testing in the upcoming season.

However, sin-bins will not be implemented in this summer’s European Championship or next season’s Champions League, as Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has expressed strong opposition to them.

Nevertheless, Uefa may be compelled to introduce sin-bins if trials prove successful and lead to their inclusion in the laws of the game.

IFAB, which includes FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, had initially agreed to test rugby-style measures in elite competitions such as the Premier League back in November.

Sin-bins have been effective in addressing dissent at grassroots and youth levels for many years, and the new trials will also target tactical fouling.

Additionally, IFAB has approved a global trial of another rugby union rule, which would restrict communication with the match referee to team captains only.

These trials have been accelerated in response to concerns about player behavior, with IFAB leaders describing it as a serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently. They view sin-bins as a crucial step in curbing such behavior, particularly in cases where fouls impede promising attacks without meeting the criteria for a red card. An example cited during discussions was Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shirt pull on England’s Bukayo Saka during the Euro 2020 final, which resulted in only a yellow card.

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Blue cards to be introduced in football

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