Blue cards for sin-binned players to be trialled by football’s lawmakers Ifab

Premier League referee Anthony Taylor
Referees currently give out red and yellow cards for offences during games

Football’s lawmakers Ifab are to trial sin-binning players and issuing blue cards, it will be announced on Friday.

Sin-bins have been used at grassroots level for dissent but their use could be extended to cynical fouls as part of a trial.

A player would spend 10 minutes in the technical area after being given a blue card by a referee.

It is not yet clear when the trial will start and which competitions it will involve.

The Premier League has already ruled out being part of the initial roll-out of any trial, while football’s world governing body Fifa said “reports of the so-called ‘blue card’ at elite levels of football are incorrect and premature”.

It added: “Any such trials, if implemented, should be limited to testing in a responsible manner at lower levels, a position that Fifa intends to reiterate when this agenda item is discussed at the Ifab AGM [annual general meeting] on 1 March.”

Ifab (International Football Association Board) is scheduled to hold its annual meeting at Loch Lomond in Scotland in March and sin-bin trials at higher levels of the game are listed as a topic for discussion in the agenda.

Sin-bins were piloted in 2018-19, with the Football Association reporting a 38% total reduction in dissent across 31 leagues.

They were introduced across all levels of grassroots football from the 2019-20 season in an attempt to improve levels of respect and fair play.

The rule change was then implemented up to step five of the National League system and tier three and below in women’s football.

“I think [there is] frustration for fans watching games when they see a promising counter-attack that’s ruined by that [a tactical foul],” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham previously said.

“The question of whether a yellow card is sufficient for that has led to us looking at whether that should be involved in the protocol as well.

“The starting point was looking at player behaviour and dissent – we’re then looking at whether we should extend it into other areas, such as tactical fouls, as well.”

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