A blue card is set to be introduced in professional football in a major shake-up of officiating rules.
The Telegraph report that the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body responsible for the laws of the game, have approved the measure as part of sin-bin trials, with confirmation expected to come on Friday.
Players will be shown a blue card and sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes if they show dissent to officials or commit a cynical foul.
Initial testing is not likely to include top-tier competitions, but trials could begin this summer and the FA are said to be considering volunteering the FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup next season as competitions for further testing.
A FIFA statement in response to the news read: “FIFA wishes to clarify that reports of the so-called 'blue card' at elite levels of football are incorrect and premature. “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 agenda item is discussed at the IFAB AGM on 2 March.”
The blue card would only be used when a player stops a dangerous attack, or for dissent. Two blue cards in a match, or a combination of a blue card and a yellow card, would result in a sending off.
One example raised by IFAB was Giorgio Chiellini pulling the shirt of Bukayo Saka during the Euro 2020 final, a foul that would see him face ten minutes in the sin-bin under new measures.
However, Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA, has confirmed that sin-bins will not be introduced for the European Championship this summer or next season’s Champions League, stating: “It’s not football anymore.”
There have already been successful trials in amateur and youth football in England and Wales, with it now set to follow in the senior game.
A white card has been used in Portugal, introduced by the National Plan for Ethics in Sport in an attempt to promote fair play.
One was shown in the fifth division last year, when a player kicked the ball out of play rather than running through on goal when an opposition defender went down injured.
Medical staff during a women’s match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica also received a white card, after treating a fan who had fainted in the stands.