Gianni Infantino gives blue cards the red card and says Fifa is opposed to plan

<span>Gianni Infantino said: ‘Once you look at it you also have to protect the essence and tradition of the game. There is no blue card.’</span><span>Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Gianni Infantino said: ‘Once you look at it you also have to protect the essence and tradition of the game. There is no blue card.’Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Gianni Infantino has personally killed plans to introduce a blue card to football saying it is a “red card to the blue card” and that he was not made aware of proposals before the controversial idea became public.

Football’s rulemaking body, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), is understood to be ready to expand trials of a sin-bin for men’s football, although not to the elite level, but the addition of a third card to a referee’s pocket is no more, according to the Fifa president.

“There will not be any blue cards used at elite level”, Infantino said on arriving at the Ifab AGM at Loch Lomond in Scotland. “This is a topic that is non-existent for us. Fifa is completely opposed to blue cards. I was not aware of this topic, the president of Fifa – and I think Fifa has a say in Ifab. If you want a title it is red card to the blue card.”

Infantino said that the addition of a blue card would damage the ­traditions of the game. “We have to be serious,” he said. “We are always open to look at ideas and proposals. But once you look at it you also have to protect the essence and tradition of the game. There is no blue card.”

The revelation that a third card was to be introduced caused mirth, consternation and many memes when news emerged the day before a planned announcement last month.

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The plans suggested players who showed dissent to a referee or committed a cynical foul to stop an attack would be shown a blue card before being sent to a sin-bin for 10 minutes.

Fifa, which has 50% of the ­voting rights within Ifab, appeared to have been caught unawares by the ­proposal, posting on X on the day the plans were leaked: “Fifa wishes to clarify that reports of the so-called ‘blue card’ at elite levels of football are incorrect and premature.”

Senior figures within the men’s game scoffed at the plans. Tottenham’s manager, Ange Postecoglou, said: “Adding another [card]. What is that going to do?”

Plans for sin-bin trials are expected to continue as the game’s lawmakers continue to work on ways to improve player behaviour. Many of the ­concerns expressed by elite ­managers referred more to the ­possibility of ­losing players for 10 minutes in a match, and the effect it may have on play, than on the use or colour of any card. These concerns will remain, as trials are extended, but it is understood any trials will remain at the lower levels of the men’s game.

Alongside the sin-bin ­discussion, and consideration of cooling off ­periods for players who have an altercation, there will be further ­discussion of the use of VAR and adjustments on the punishments ­surrounding handball, with a deliberate handball that leads to a penalty set to be punished with a red card.

Ifab is also under pressure to step up protective measures against concussion, with new rules yet to be implemented after three years of trials. Player groups are lobbying for more focus and action on concussion, with progress in tackling the issue apparently stalled.

The international players’ union, Fifpro, has issued a series of requests to Ifab before the AGM, calling first for the full implementation of concussion substitutes in the professional game. “It has now been three years since various competitions began trialling permanent substitutions in the case of suspected concussion,” Fifpro said in a statement. “It’s time to incorporate them into the laws of the game.”

Fifpro’s appeal also asks that Ifab reverses its opposition to ­trialling temporary concussion substitutes. Last year, attempts to allow the ­Premier League, alongside MLS and Ligue 1, to trial temporary subs was ruled out by Ifab. This year the ­Scottish and ­Australian ­Football ­Associations have joined the ­campaign and asked to be allowed to conduct trials.

The ­central ­argument made in favour of this approach is that temporary changes of 10 to 15 ­minutes would allow medical staff the time to ­conduct proper ­assessments of possible concussions while ­minimising sporting consequences. The Premier League is also continuing its support for a temporary substitute and has written to Ifab suggesting a possible protocol for its implementation.