The blue card in football: What is it and how does it work?

For those familiar with the soccer, the use of yellow and red cards to sanction players during a match has become self-evident. However, there is another color of cardboard that is gaining popularity – blue card.

What is the blue card?

The blue card was first introduced in the men’s and women’s football in England during the next season of the FA Cup Association. This is a measure taken by the association to strengthen the player safety on the field and improve sportsmanship.

The blue card is issued to players who have committed reprehensible faults, but less serious than those which result in a yellow or red card. In other words, it serves to make players aware that they have broken certain rules without imposing too severe sanctions on them.

What types of faults are punished by a blue card?

Some of the common fouls that can result in a blue card include:

  • Tripping a player without malicious intent.
  • Disrespecting the referee or other players.
  • Pushing a player, even if it didn’t have a major impact on the game.

However, it is also possible for unusual or less common fouls to be punished with a blue card if the referee judges that this constitutes a minor but reprehensible infraction.

What are the consequences of a blue card?

When a player receives a blue card, he must temporarily leave the field for a specific period of time. Typically, the duration of this temporary exclusion is five minutes, although this may vary depending on the specific rules of each competition. During this time, the excluded player’s team must play with one man less. However, unlike a red card, the player can return to the field after his exclusion time has expired.

Depending on the rules of the relevant competition, a player who accumulates a certain number of blue cards during a season may also be suspended for one or more matches. This is intended to discourage repetitive behavior and encourage fair play.

Example of the use of the blue card in a football match

Let’s take a hypothetical example to illustrate how the blue card could be used during a match:

  1. A player from Team A trips a player from Team B during a promising attack, without malicious intent.
  2. The referee decides that this fault deserves a blue card and temporarily excludes the offending player for a period of five minutes.
  3. During these five minutes, team A must play with one less player. The game continues normally between the two teams.
  4. After the expiration of five minutes, the player who received the blue card is allowed to return to the field.

This example shows how the use of the blue card can help maintain fair play and safety during a football match, while avoiding punishing players too harshly for minor errors.

Advantages and disadvantages of blue cardboard

Benefits :

  • Promotion of fair play: By creating a gentle way of punishing bad behavior, the blue card encourages players to comply with the rules and respect their opponents.
  • Injury prevention: By temporarily excluding players for certain fouls, the blue card can help reduce the number of injuries and improve safety on the pitch.
  • Dissuasion of repetitive mistakes: As a player who accumulates blue cards can be suspended for one or more matches, this can encourage players to think before acting and avoid making the same mistakes.


  • Additional complexity: With the introduction of the blue card, referees must now decide whether to issue a yellow, blue or red card when calling a foul. This can add additional complexity and potentially slow down the game.
  • Subject to interpretation: As there is no exhaustive list of offenses punishable by a blue card, certain situations may give rise to debate and controversy between players, coaches, spectators and the media.
  • Difficulty of application: If blue card rules are not applied consistently across different matches and competitions, it can create confusion and frustration for players and fans.

In short, the blue card is an interesting innovation which aims to improve fair play and safety in football. Although it may present some challenges in terms of application and interpretation, it also offers considerable benefits in terms of promoting respect and preventing injuries in the field. Only time will tell us if the blue card becomes an essential element of modern football.

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