• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Blue Cards: Get your hands off our game!

ByLuca Parrish

Mar 2, 2024
A yellow card and a red card

The recent mooted introduction of blue cards in football, a punishment which would see players put into a sin-bin, has drawn reactions of dismay from huge swathes of the footballing community, groups traditionally united only by their enmity for each other. Obviously, this is a terrible idea, but why is it so awful, and what does it tell us about the officiating in the sport more broadly?

Firstly, any encroachment of rugby into our sport is a backwards step, as the sports are so markedly different, and there seems to be little reason for IFAB, football’s law-making body, to have done this, except to distract people from the other dumpster-fire they have given us recently, VAR.

Furthermore, the things this proposal is designed to tackle are unimportant. Tactical fouls are already punishable with either red or yellow cards, depending on severity, and even the more lenient yellow option prevents the same player from taking that action even once more during the match. It is also meant to tackle dissent, something which the authorities already have far too much power in dealing with. Managers and players already risk fines the second they question decisions, no matter how ill-judged they may be, and referees have the power now to send off people on the bench, making the principle of red cards for dismissing active players null and void, and making the draconian powers which protect the referees from getting their feelings hurt even more extreme. The last thing we would ever want to see is the same pathetic fawning rugby players direct to their officials, certainly not when those officials are as idiotic as the ones we must endure each week in football.

This is not the first time there has been meddling from the lawmakers. They, of course, in their infinite wisdom have already bestowed VAR upon us, and the perpetual melodrama that accompanies it, but this is a trend which extends further back. Good examples of rule changes include the back-pass law and goal-line technology, but these were changes designed to increase the competitiveness and fairness of the sport, where before loopholes had existed.

The change in the offside law, however, which meant that players could no longer be offside when level with the penultimate man, was designed to increase attacking play. However, this inadvertently led to the death of the libero (sweeper) position, and the man-to-man marking which often accompanied it, killing much of the genuine tactical variation in the sport. This was a law designed to create entertainment, but it distinctly misunderstands that sport is not entertainment, nor is it business. Of course, it has links with both, but at its fundamental level, sport is very simply a competition for victory. Rules designed for purposes other than increasing competitiveness or fairness will always be disastrous, and I see no reason why adding sin-bins would end any differently.

Especially, since the last time football borrowed from other sports, in its introduction of video technology, without proper consideration of the variables and grey areas unique to football, you could hardly call it a success. But then again, neither the lawmakers nor the jobsworths they get to officiate on their behalf have even a modicum of understanding of the sport.

Of course, it is only a proposal for a trial at this stage, but giving the fools and incompetents we call referees any more power, all for the sake of the show, can only end badly.

Football yellow and red card” by focusonmore.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0.