The International Football Association Board (IFAB), keepers of the laws of the beautiful game, were supposed to announce their proposal for trialing (with a view towards eventually implementing) the so-called “
orange blue cards” and “sin bins” in professional football yesterday (Friday), but they have apparently delayed that announcement and will instead hold further discussions about the issue in their next general meeting, in early March.
Various reports on Thursday spoke in dramatic terms about this expected announcement, even though IFAB had already confirmed back in November that they were working on this proposal, so actually proposing that proposal shouldn’t have proposed such a big new threat to the establishment. But I guess football Twitter was a bit bored in this moment and everyone reflexively hates change. Far be it from football media to provide a platform for reasoned discussion.
FIFA wishes to clarify that reports of the so-called 'blue card' at elite levels of football are incorrect and premature.— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 8, 2024
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…
In any case, this delay is probably just temporary. IFAB seem fairly adamant on at least trialing these ideas — in lower leagues and lesser competitions first, as usual — which seems like a good way to test out whether they are actually good ideas or not.
“Sin bins” are already used in certain grassroots level leagues, while the idea itself has analogues in many other professional sports, such as rugby or ice hockey. And considering that we’re living with record numbers of yellows for things such as dissent, the idea to differentiate punishment for such incidents versus, say, fouls or violent conduct, is probably not a bad idea.
4.4 - This season has seen the highest average of yellow cards per game in the history of the top flight. Brandished. pic.twitter.com/Pj59Euocaq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 10, 2024
Whether the referees we have right now are fit for enacting such things properly is a different discussion altogether of course, though even if successful, these changes would be implemented no earlier than 2026 in top leagues ... or even longer in England. According to ESPN, The English FA are reluctant to take up these ideas at the moment anyway. Considering that it took them nearly a decade to adopt the increased allowance for substitutes (and eventually for concussion subs) — and needed a global pandemic to do so — I don’t imagine we’re in any danger of dealing with blue cards and sin bins in the Premier League anytime soon.
P.S.: Maybe the Super League will have to do it then, eh? Hah!