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Answers to the most important questions

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Answers to the most important questions

“Turn it off”: This expression for a self-imposed time-out could soon take on a different, unpleasant meaning in football. With the idea of ​​introducing a blue card as a sign of a time penalty imposed by the referee, the rules keepers have once again started a discussion with potential for excitement after the constant debates about the interpretation of handball or video referees. A first decision will be made this Saturday in Glasgow. But what is behind the latest control plans?

What is the Blue Card about?

The idea of ​​a time penalty is not new. In amateur football, a ten-minute compulsory break before the introduction of the yellow-red card was common practice. The punishment, known in English as “Sin Bin” (penalty box), is intended to impose a time penalty on players if, for example, they have prevented a clear chance to score with a less serious foul or verbally attack officials. The blue card would be an intermediate level between the yellow and red cards. Two blue cards for the same player should result in a red card, just as a blue and a yellow card would result in a permanent expulsion.

Who decides on the introduction?

Like all rules issues, this groundbreaking change will be decided by the International Football Association Board. The rather anachronistic committee consists of a representative from each of the football associations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – a homage to the British roots of the sport. In addition, four representatives of the world association FIFA sit on the Ifab. Decisions can only be made by a majority, which means that FIFA has the option of blocking them. As a rule, the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, is present in all decisions.

President of the world football association FIFA: Gianni Infantino : Image: dpa

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What is the schedule?

On Saturday morning, Ifab members will meet for their annual general meeting at the Cameron House Hotel in Loch Lomond, a five-star hotel northwest of Glasgow. The introduction has not yet been decided. As is usual with significant changes, a test phase that usually lasts one year is initially agreed upon. The practical suitability is then tested in certain competitions – often among young people. This time, the English association has apparently offered its cup competitions for this test run in exchange for the blue card. The Blue Card will by no means be officially and bindingly introduced before 2025.

What do coaches say?

The reactions vary widely. Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp didn’t hold back with his opinion. “It doesn’t sound like a fantastic idea at first. There will be discussions: Was it a blue card? Should it be a yellow card? Now it’s a ten minute exposition. In the good old days it would have been a red card,” said the successful coach, describing his concern about new ongoing discussions and additional uncertainty for the referees.

Pellegrino Matarazzo from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim also sees advantages. “I actually think it would be good to have a certain amount of flexibility. A yellow-red card is very hard and often decisive in the game. Having a ban afterwards is a harsh punishment,” he said. His colleague Alexander Zorninger from SpVgg Greuther Fürth spiced the discussion with irony, given the additional referee equipment. “Then in the meantime a referee has to carry around a little Gucci bag so that he can store all the cards.”

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And what do referees say?

DFB referee boss Lutz Michael Fröhlich has shown himself open to the test phase of a blue card for time penalties in football. “I myself had experience with time penalties in the league in the past, when it was still possible in Germany. I can certainly classify that as positive,” said the managing director of sports and communications at DFB Schiri GmbH.

“The advantage is that you have an intermediate tool between expulsion and a yellow card, especially in the area of ​​unsportsmanlike behavior and fouls that cannot be classified 100%,” said Fröhlich. This could definitely help calm things down, for example when packs are forming. An open question for him is the specific design. “Because then you might need additional people and a penalty box like in ice hockey. I think that’s a little more difficult organizationally, including how the audience reacts.”

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