Ifab to Trial Blue Cards for Sin-Binned Players in Football


The International Football Association Board (Ifab) is set to trial the use of sin-bins and blue cards in football, with an announcement expected on Friday. Sin-bins, which temporarily remove a player from the game for 10 minutes, have been used at grassroots level for dissent, but the trial could see their use extended to cynical fouls. The player would be sent to the technical area after receiving a blue card from the referee. The start date and competitions involved in the trial are yet to be confirmed.

The Premier League has already opted out of the initial trial, and Fifa has stated that reports of the blue card’s use at elite levels are “incorrect and premature”. Fifa suggests that any trials should be responsibly tested at lower levels first. This stance is expected to be reiterated at the Ifab annual general meeting on 1 March.

The Ifab’s annual meeting will take place in Loch Lomond, Scotland, in March, where sin-bin trials at higher levels will be discussed. Sin-bins were tested in 2018-19, resulting in a 38% reduction in dissent across 31 leagues, according to the Football Association. They were introduced across all levels of grassroots football from the 2019-20 season to improve respect and fair play. The rule change was then implemented up to step five of the National League system and tier three and below in women’s football.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has previously expressed frustration at tactical fouls ruining promising counter-attacks, suggesting that a yellow card may not be sufficient punishment. This has led to discussions about extending the use of sin-bins to cover such fouls.

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