Football matches may undergo a significant transformation with the proposed introduction of a blue card, marking a departure from the traditional yellow and red cards in use since the 1970 World Cup.
The International Football Council (IFAB), the governing body responsible for the rules of the game, has reportedly given approval for this innovative change, which will be integrated into the 'sin-bin' protocols.
Players engaging in 'cynical fouls' or unnecessary confrontations with referees could now be shown a blue card, mandating a 10-minute expulsion from the field and leaving their team at a numerical disadvantage.
The potential for a red card arises if a player accumulates two blue cards. Initial trials of the blue card may not include top-tier tournaments, allowing room for adjustments, but it could see implementation in the upcoming men's and women's FA Cup.
However, the revolutionary blue card is unlikely to feature in major competitions such as the Euros or Champions League next season. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin strongly opposes the idea, expressing concerns that it would fundamentally alter the essence of football.
Despite this, UEFA might reconsider its stance if successful trials demonstrate positive outcomes. IFAB's annual business meeting emphasized the significance of 'sin-bins' in addressing player fouls and offenses that fall below the threshold for a red card.
An illustrative example discussed during the meeting involved Giorgio Chiellini's shirt pull on Bukayo Saka in the Euro final, resulting in only a yellow card.
Additionally, the International Football Commission is anticipated to approve a regulation restricting communication with match referees exclusively to team captains. Notably, blue cards have already found use in non-professional football in Wales, chosen for their clarity in distinguishing them from traditional yellow or red cards.