Reports of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body that governs the laws of the sport, considering trialling blue cards to temporarily suspend players for a few minutes in a match for cynical fouls has sent a few ripples across the game. The Telegraph had said that the blue card would sit alongside the yellow and red cards, with a player being sent to the sin-bin – removed from the field of play for 10 minutes. If a player is shown a second blue card, they would then be shown a red card and dismissed from the game.
Football’s global governing body FIFA has since clarified that the trials won’t take place in any elite level of the sport. It further stated on Friday that the rule will be discussed in the IFAB’s AGM on March 2 where FIFA said will reiterate the importance of testing the blue card “in a responsible manner at lower levels”.
What are Blue Cards?
If introduced, the new card won’t be unique to football. Field hockey and rugby have long standing rules of a player being temporarily suspended from the field of play for fouls based on the referee’s judgement of the severity of the infraction.
The specifics of the rule is only set to be unveiled next month after the IFAB’s AGM. However, it has been tried out in amateur leagues in England and Wales, where the player who has been shown the blue card is suspended from play for 10 minutes. If the player picks up another blue card after returning from the suspension, they are shown a red card and dismissed from the match altogether.
If the law comes into fruition, it will be the first time that a new card will be introduced to the sport since the yellow and red cards were first brought in during the 1970 World Cup. There were no players sent off throughout that tournament though and the two cards have since become an integral part of the sport at all levels.