The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will announce this Friday the introduction of the blue card as part of NHL-style sin bins tests in professional football, according to sources confirmed by ESPN. The new initiative aims to improve player behavior and increase respect for referees.
The first reports about the blue cards were reported by The Telegraph. The IFAB, responsible for creating and regulating the rules of professional football, announced last November measures to improve player performance and respect for referees. This would include implementing temporary suspensions for questioning decisions and specific tactical offenses during matches.
Sin bins have already been successfully implemented in lower categories since the 2019-2020 season. Players were required to leave the field of play for 10 minutes if they displayed disrespectful behavior towards a referee. The new test will be implemented in high-level football and will include situations where players deliberately leave an attacking rival without a chance, where a red card is not guaranteed.
The use of the blue card will be a distinguishing feature in top-level leagues and competitions such as the English Premier League, La Liga, UEFA Champions League, Euro 2024, and Copa América 2024. However, the tests will not be used at the highest level of professional football until the 2026-2027 season.
The blue card is an attempt to reduce disrespect on the field, and has already been tested in several leagues in recent years. However, FIFA clarified that reports about the use of the blue card at the highest levels of competition in football are incorrect and premature. Any potential test of this type could be limited to lower levels, pending further discussion at the IFAB General Assembly on March 1.
With information from Dale Johnson, general editor of ESPN FC, football fans will be eagerly awaiting the potential impact of the blue card on the game.