Keith Hackett believes football is trying to “adapt to weak refereeing” after it was revealed lawmakers are set to prosecute players who commit sins and issue blue cards.
Referees would have the power to send players to the sin-bin for 10 minutes if they commit a cynical foul (such as killing a counterattack) or show disagreement with the match officials. Two blues, or a combination of yellow and blue, would add up to a red.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will publish its protocols on Friday, and FA sources indicate it could be tested in the FA Cup next season.
speaking in GB NewsHackett, former referee chief Hackett said the blue card would have a “positive impact” but criticized the current referees.
He said: “It seems to me that what we are trying to do is accommodate weak refereeing because the laws already allow the referee to caution players for dissent and already caution players for that cynical defiance.”
Football lawmakers will judge players who condemn sin and issue blue cards and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) will publish its protocols on Friday.
Players could be sent to the sin-bin for cynical fouls or for showing disagreement with the match officials.
Keith Hackett (right) felt that blue cards were a good idea, but that it “suits weak refereeing”.
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‘So, for me, I think they are right to experiment with this and I think it will have a positive impact.
“But at the end of the day we have to take into account that the fans will not see one or two players for a period of the game and therefore this is not just a punishment for the player, it is a punishment for the team, so should act as a good deterrent.’
When asked if there is any way to improve the respect players show towards referees, he added: “Education.” I think punishment in general doesn’t work.
‘We need to change the dynamic between players and referees. But I come back to the referees because I think they need to be more proactive rather than reactive and nip dissent in the bud and punish it at its source rather than allowing it to spread among all the players and damage the image of the game.’
Hackett added that the sin-bin has been in operation since the 2019-20 season at a grassroots level, although it is only used “very sparingly.”
FIFA issued a statement on Thursday evening to say that suggestions that the blue card could come “at the elite levels of football are incorrect and premature”.
They added: “Any such testing, if implemented, should be limited to testing responsibly at lower levels.”
Giorgio Chiellini’s pull on Bukayo Saka during the Euro 2020 final was mentioned as a challenge that would have earned a blue card and a 10-minute expulsion.
Hackett insisted that blue cards would be a good deterrent to nip dissent in the bud.
Rugby-style rules would revolutionize the way the game is played, with the IFAB citing Giorgio Chiellini’s stripping of Bukayo Saka’s shirt in England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy as worthy of a 10 minute expulsion. Chiellini received a yellow card.
Pierluigi Collina, president of the FIFA referees committee, previously said there was a desire to expand the experiment by introducing it at a professional level.
The IFAB is set to give the green light to testing at the highest levels of the game at its upcoming annual general meeting in Scotland next month.
Other items on that agenda include testing ‘cooling off periods’ after clashes between players and allowing only the team captain to approach the referee, another rule borrowed from rugby.