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Give me the FFF’s Blue Card all day! – By Luke Chadwick

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What’s all this about football introducing a new Blue Card that will see players sin-binned for ten minutes if they receive one? At the FFF we’ve been dishing out blue cards for years for very different reasons! At every one of our sessions, our Head Coaches hand out these cards to the child or children who have displayed the most fantastic human qualities throughout the football session, this could be for sportsmanship, encouragement, or enthusiasm, and certainly won’t result in them being sent off the pitch for ten minutes!

I’m not too keen on this new concept planned for professional football and in all honesty, see it causing more harm than good, it seems over the past few years changes have been made thick and fast with the introduction of VAR and goal-line technology and now potential sin bins! Without a doubt, there are parts of football that need to improve and I understand a massive reason behind the potential introduction of the blue card is to limit dissent towards referee’s which can only be a good thing right? Or is it going to make the referee’s job even harder when making these decisions?

Sin bins already take place in the lower levels of English football and are used from step 5 and below to help the officials control the game. I’m not proud to admit but I once received a ten-minute sin bin playing for my village team for moaning at a referee’s decision and quite right too!! It was a strange feeling to stand on the side of the pitch for ten minutes before returning to the action and to be fair it taught me a lesson and I certainly kept my mouth shut for the rest of the game in fear of getting my marching orders! But that was a village game being played in front of a man and his dog, professional football is a game enjoyed by millions and hasn’t VAR affected the enjoyment of this enough without yet another rule that will affect the spectator and viewer’s enjoyment?

Surely it will also put the officials under even further scrutiny by potentially making a decision that could cost even more teams points on a weekly basis and in turn return more abuse and challenge. In my opinion the officials have a hard enough job anyway without making it even harder under intense pressure! We’ve also seen the disruption VAR has caused particularly in the enjoyment of both players and fans alike when goals are scored and we have to wait five minutes to see if they will actually count which takes away the emotion and joy a goal brings! I’ll be honest I enjoyed watching football more without VAR and had no problem with the odd mistake the officials can make as the game would flow so much smoother.

I do agree though that dissent and foul language towards referees and officials is not right and more needs to be done to stop it because when it happens at the top level it filters down and children believe it’s okay and copy their role models. I believe the only way this can be done is through education, so the next generation of budding footballers understand that it’s wrong whatever level they end up playing at. That is the reason behind the Football Fun Factory’s blue card, to celebrate positive behaviour and when we celebrate something more children do it and understand fair play, respecting one another and the officials is the right thing to do and one day it will become the norm. We have of course got a long way to go to get there, but it has to start somewhere and what better place to start than children taking their first steps in playing the game!

Recently we produced a podcast episode all about the Blue Card we have here at the Football Fun Factory, comparing it to the Blue Card that is being proposed by the FA.

You can take a listen or have a watch of the episode below.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6VGfFkLkTSj2JAkZbkqYYc ⁠ ⁠

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-football-fun-factory-podcast/id1717628950 ⁠ ⁠

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