Plans for bold Premier League change impacting Newcastle United delayed after Shearer and Klopp backlash
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A formal announcement over the details of the introduction of a blue card was expected to be made on Friday afternoon - but a wave of criticism from key figures around the world of football is said to have played a major role in forcing governing body FIFA into a rethink. In what would have been the first major change in on-field discipline since yellow and red cards were introduced in 1970, the new sanction would see blue cards shown to players committing tactical fouls and showing dissent towards officials and to impose a ten-minute stay in a sin bin, with the latter already tested in the fifth and sixth tier of the non-league game over the last four seasons.
Speaking on this weekend's episode of Match of the Day, Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer referenced the blue card, saying: "The handball rule as we know is an absolute joke. You're hearing managers and players every single week saying 'We just don't know what handball is any more'. These are the same guys, IFAB - who are making the handball rule, who actually may want to bring blue cards in for sin bins. Do me a favour man, honestly!"
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also made reference to the possible change when he was asked about what was a tetchy affair as his title-chasing side claimed a 3-1 home win against Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss replied: "It was emotional. Imagine in this game and the referee has a blue card available? It would have been the wild west. There were so many yellow cards. I had no clue why Vincent Kompany got it. I lost it in that situation so fine, give me a yellow card. As long as I don't get a blue one and have to sit somewhere for 10 minutes!"
Shearer and Klopp are far from alone in their criticism of the possible introduction of the blue card and the heated reaction to the change has reportedly played a part in IFAB's decision to delay the formal announcement over the introduction of the additional on-field sanction. A statement released by FIFA has confirmed the matter will be discussed further when they hold their annual general meeting at Loch Lomand next month.
It read: "Any such trials, if implemented, should be limited to testing in a responsible manner at lower levels, a position that FIFA intends to reiterate when this agenda item is discussed at the IFAB AGM on March 2."