Blue cards set to be tested in football as part of sin-bin trial

Well this one is going to split opinions...

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 8th February 2024

After years of speculation as to whether it could work in the beautiful game, blue cards are set to be tested across world football as part of a new trial of the sin-bin system seen in sports like rugby.

As per an exclusive by Telegraph Sport, the small-scale introduction of blue cards is scheduled to take place sometime next season and could be as early as this summer, with trials starting out in smaller competitions before being potentially workshopped in the likes of the FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup.

While it’s said that they will not be seen in European competitions like the Euros or next year’s Champions League, with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin having come out in full protest against them — “It’s not football anymore”, he previously told the outlet — there’s already been a push for blue cards.

The Welsh FA have been keen to try out the sin-bin alternative for this competitive year, calling for blue cards instead of the long-discussed orange so as to clearly differentiate between yellow and red, but the testing has been done at the grassroots level in Wales has simply used yellows for the time being.

One game-changing example came to mind immediately on social media.

So how would blue cards and sin-bins in football work?

Now, the proposed sin-bin system is pretty straightforward by the sounds of things: one blue card equates to 10 minutes off the pitch and will be handed out by referees in response to things like dissent or cynical fouls in the first order.


The Telegraph reports that two blue cards would result in a red just like a player would currently be sent off if they earned a second yellow card.

How this will integrate with existing bookings via a traditional yellow or receiving one of each etc. remains to be seen but will no doubt be outlined in more detail when the official announcement is made, expected to be this Friday, 9 February.


Said to have been signed off by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the governing body which adjudicates over FIFA and all other organisations within world football, the introduction of blue cards and the sin-bin system would be the biggest rule change since the 1970 World Cup.

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The iconic tournament saw the first use of yellow and red cards over half a century ago and is now the standard so synonymous with the game that most football fans won’t remember a time before it.

Although the introduction of VAR just a few years ago now has proved controversial in the sport, to say the least, sin-bins have been used on numerous occasions in youth and grassroots games up and down the UK, with refs cracking down on dissent (complaining to/abusing officials) more and more each year.


If the new proposals are ultimately greenlit, they could also the trial of another rugby union-style rule which will see only team captains allowed to contest on-field calls to further dissuade players from swarming referees in an effort to pressure them into making a particular decision.

It would be a landmark moment in the history of football if it does pass and progress into global leagues and major tournaments. What do you reckon — a good idea or a bad one?

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Featured Images — Steffen Prößdorf (via Wikimedia Commons)/Marc (via Flickr)