With some referees hesitant to produce a yellow card for swearing, arguing with the referee, off the ball collisions and all manner of other unsportsmanlike conduct, is it time football considered introducing another card?
The black card was introduced in Gaelic Football in 2013 - to much controversy - but its effect has been mostly positive. It has led to improvements in player behaviour, spectator enjoyment and has even been said to be responsible for goal fests unlike anything the sport has seen before.
The Gaelic Football Association (GAA) state that black card should be awarded for Cynical Behaviour Fouls which includes the following:
- Deliberately bringing down an opponent
- Off-the-ball contact
- Aggressively remonstrating with officials
- Abusive language
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The consequence of a black card is that the recipient must be immediately substituted. If the player receives a yellow card and then a black card, they will be sent off as with two yellows.
So could black cards work in the world of football? It's hard to imagine they could be introduced to a sport so resistant to change that goal-line technology is fairly recent and any talk of video refereeing is quickly shut down.
But the black card could solve a lot of problems if tailored correctly for the beautiful game.
Pundits have been calling for more to be done about abusive behaviour towards referees and linesmen, yet a yellow card seems unduly harsh in the eyes of some.
Other persistent problems, such as the latest trends of shirt pulling, and pushing and shoving in the box, could also be eliminated by a new sanction.
Or it could be altered to eradicate cheating? Divers would perhaps think twice about throwing themselves down on the floor if they knew they could be immediately substituted as a consequence. It would also help to stop children emulating the shouting, swearing and simulation that they watch on television every week.
Of course, it will still be difficult for referees to judge whether or not a player was actually cheating, but a black card certainly offers something different from a yellow.
We already know that the public welcome changes in rules - look how much fun Hawkeye is at Wimbledon, or how hilarious the introduction of vanishing foam was at the 2014 World Cup.
Could introducing a black card help to solve football's niggling problems?
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