Liverpool Boss Jurgen Klopp Criticizes Football’s New Blue Card Plan as “Too Complicated” and Claims IFAB Has Never Had Good Ideas

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has panned the concept of a new blue card in football and claimed law-makers IFAB have never come up with any good ideas.

Klopp joined fans and pundits in the backlash against the blue card and 10-minute sin-bin idea put forward by the International Football Association Board this week.

A broader trial had been planned – potentially in FA Cup games – next season after sin-bins had been introduced in some youth and amateur matches.

The idea was unlikely to be introduced into professional football for some time but Klopp made clear his belief a third card would complicate things.

‘The actual situation shows we should keep it as simple as possible for the referees,’ the German said at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s home game with Burnley.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was distinctly unimpressed by plans to bring in blue cards

Football's rule-makers IFAB want to trail use of blue cards and 10-minute sin bins

Football’s rule-makers IFAB want to trail use of blue cards and 10-minute sin bins 

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‘It is a difficult job, often quite emotional when we speak about it because it’s most often after the game.

‘I think the introduction of a new card would just give more opportunities to fail as well because the discussion will be: ‘It was a blue card, it should have been a yellow card, now he has 10 minutes off. In other times it would have been a red card, or would have been only a yellow. Whatever.’

WHAT IS A BLUE CARD?

Referees will have the power to show blue cards for cynical fouls that stop threatening attacks and dissent towards a match official.

The card may also be issued to confirm a player should be shown a red card if they receive two blue cards in a match or a combination of a yellow and a blue. 

The revolutionary move would be the first new colour of card introduced into top end football since red and yellow cards were adopted at the 1970 World Cup. 

Trials will not be conducted during top-tier matches, though FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup games could be used for testing next year. 

The FA are reportedly considering volunteering next season’s competitions. 

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‘These kind of things just make it more complicated. They want to test it, I have no problem with testing but if that is the first step towards agreeing or already being sure it will happen, but I don’t know about it.

‘It doesn’t sound like a fantastic idea in the first moment but actually I can’t remember when the last fantastic idea came from these guys, if they ever had one – IFAB. I am 56, nah, never.’

The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that plans for the blue card trial had been ‘thrown into doubt’ after strong resistance within the game.

Supporters had been up in arms over the idea, with some saying the game was ‘finished’ – while pundit Paul Merson said it would make football ‘boring’.

The latest report claims that unrest over the decision was summed up by a statement from FIFA, which confirmed sin-bin trials would not include top-tier competitions. 

‘Any such trials, if implemented, should be limited to testing in a responsible manner at lower levels,’ it read. 

Further division on the concept was seen in UEFA too – with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin declaring he would not allow a trial in the European Championship, Champions League, Europa League or Europa Conference League.  

An announcement had been planned for Friday, but instead the trial looks to be in serious doubt – with the future of blue cards set to be debated at the next annual general meeting of IFAB next month, the report goes on. 

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou, Everton’s Sean Dyche, and Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson are among the Premier League managers to have previously voiced their opposition to ‘blue cards’.

Fans also took to X, formerly Twitter, to air their anger accusing the ‘rich’ of ‘stealing our beautiful game’ and being left baffled by the pointless move. 

One fan on X said the didn’t recognise the beautiful game anymore, while another said it would slow the game down even more. 

A third added: ‘Game is gone. If this comes in football is completely finished.’ 

It comes amid increasing concern from fans and coaches surrounding technology in the game, with a host of VAR mix-ups and mistakes seen in the Premier League this season that has angered coaches. 

Premier League chief Tony Scholes admitting yesterday the technology still needs fixing five years on since it was first introduced. 

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With the idea of blue cards triggering a huge discussion within the football community this week, former Arsenal star Merson was one of the biggest vocal opponents. 

He told Sky Sports: ‘You’d get 10 players sitting behind the ball the whole time, it’d be the most boring football ever. It’s an absolute waste of time, a waste of time.’ 

Blue cards have been used this season during a sin-bin trial in grassroots football in Wales, with the colour chosen to differentiate it clearly from a yellow or red card.

One example of a good use of the sin bin was seen in then Euro 2020 final when Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini pulled the shirt of England’s Bukayo Saka and only received a yellow card.

Under the new rules, Chiellini could have been forced to spend 10 minutes on the touchline, reducing Italy to 10 men against England’s 11.

The introduction of new cards has already taken place on a smaller scale on the continent, with Portugal recently adopting a new measure to recognise good sportsmanship. 

There has been some positive reception to the idea of blue cards. 

FIFA referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina backed the idea of sin bins, saying: ‘The idea is to start working on this as soon as possible to provide those who would be involved in the trial a protocol to be used. The idea is to get it soon.

‘The trial was very successful in grassroots competitions. Now we are talking of a higher level, very probably professional or even high professional football.’

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham confirmed their interest in using sin bins back in November.

‘When we were looking at sin bins – protocol clearly has to be developed – the areas we were looking at were dissent, where it’s worked very, very well in the grassroots game in England,’ he said.

 

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