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  • Danny Harrington

The blue card debate: Does football need a sin bin?

The rule makers of world football IFAB (The International Football Association Board) plan to introduce a sin bin into football via the blue card, now there were going to be tests before the full implementation of the rules which Premier League had reportedly signed up to. However, IFAB have delayed these tests until it’s next general meeting on March 2nd, 2024.

Now a lot of Premier League managers had their say including my favourite quote from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. In a press conference Klopp said, "It doesn't sound like a fantastic idea in the first moment, but actually, I can't remember when the last fantastic idea came from these guys - if they ever had one." 

Putting Klopp’s beautiful sarcastic wit aside, which I thought was amazing, he brings up a good point, have IFAB ever come up with a good idea? Well surely, they have but that’s not why we’re here.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou bought up a great point in his press conference saying that ‘most other sports are trying to become less convoluted, whilst football seems to be going in the opposite direction’. I’m paraphrasing but you get his point and he’s right.

However, the question remains, would a sin bin work in football? But before we answer that question, what is a sin bin? It’s a self-explanatory term, you commit a ‘sin’ you’re sent off for a period of time. It’s nothing new, a lot of sports have sin bins such as Rugby (both League and Union) Ice Hockey, etc…

So, here’s the thing I can see what the football authorities are trying to do here, they want some leeway in terms of the punishment system being very black & white or Yellow & Red as the case maybe. I don’t disagree that there should be something interjected which is more severe than a yellow card but not as harsh as a red card. We’ve all seen very questionable red cards that get overturned I would say that this is the situation that a ‘Blue Card’ would be useful in.

However, sending a player off at the referee’s discretion for ten minutes is poor way of managing the game, I fear that this would be used by referee’s who are poor at managing the game to punish anyone and everyone that aggravates them.

Would it not be better to adopt a three strikes and you’re out rule, so introduce a third card say an amber card, so yellow, then amber, then red. So essentially two warning before you’re sent off.

Whilst I wouldn’t like to see it, if it helps certain referee’s that are poor at managing games, I’m all for it, however sin binning players will just ammunition for people like me that think the standard of referring in England is exceptionally poor, and if you’re giving more ammunition to critics then what’s the point of it anyway?

This is a simple case of if it isn’t broke don’t fix it but do fix the standard of referring because it isn’t great, although they’re numerous reasons why being referee is a crap job adding a sin bin would only add to the criticism.

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