What Does A Yellow Card Mean in Soccer

What Does A Yellow Card Mean in Soccer?

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Rules are set to avoid chaos. Like every other sport, soccer has its rules, which are meant to be followed. The consequences of your actions might affect you and your entire team.

Discipline is a significant aspect of the game of football. Erring players can be disciplined in three ways: shown a yellow card, a red card, or suspended from a game. Most football games end with at least one player getting a yellow or red card. Generally, you can expect three to four yellow cards per single game of soccer.

The Origins of the Yellow and Red Card System

Soccer didn’t use yellow and red cards until the 1970 world cup in Mexico. Before using penalty cards, some players who didn’t speak the same language as the referee had problems understanding if they had infracted and had been cautioned. 

Sir Kenneth Aston, an English referee, came up with the idea of using yellow and red cards. It is said that he was driving and stopped at a set of traffic lights. As he watched the traffic lights change, he came up with the idea of using red and yellow cards. The British referee realized that it would signal a clear infraction, and everyone, including the players, would understand regardless of their language. 

While driving, a yellow light tells the driver to be careful and slow down, while a red light in traffic tells the driver to stop. Using colored cards in a soccer game was the easiest way to communicate an infraction during the game. Ken pitched the idea to the league, and the league adopted it in the 1970 world cup.

What are Yellow Cards?

A yellow card, or booking, is an official warning given to a player by the referee when an infraction has been made. A yellow card is a penalty card given as a warning or caution. The referee issues the card as a warning to a player who has committed an offense. This can include breaking the rules of the game, unsporting behavior, or violent conduct. This gives players another chance to stay on the field and remain playing while being cautious.

How can a Soccer Player get a Yellow Card?

A soccer player gets issued a yellow card for misconduct or other serious offense. There are six yellow card offenses. These offenses are:

1. Unsporting Behavior

This can be a broad number of actions that are deemed to be unsportsmanlike conduct. Giving a yellow card for unsporting behavior is ultimately down to the referee’s judgment. The referee will assess the player’s actions and decide; their say is final. To help the referees decide, the official soccer game laws provide a list of what is considered unsportsmanlike behavior. In soccer, unsporting conduct includes:

  • Attempting to deceive the referee, e.g., faking an injury on the football pitch.
  • Verbal abuse or taunting of an official or another player
  • Handling a ball to interfere with or stop an obvious goal-scoring opportunity
  • Changing places with the goalkeeper while playing or without the referee’s permission
  • Ruining the football field on purpose by making unauthorized marks on the pitch
  • Playing the ball while leaving the field of play after being permitted to leave
  • Verbally distracting an opponent during play or at a restart
  • Showing a lack of respect for others

2. Dissent by Word or Deed

The referee has complete authority on the football field. Challenging that authority is classed as dissent and can result in a player getting a yellow card. Examples of dissent by action would include embarrassing or attacking the referee through physical gestures. Dissent by word includes making extremely loud comments at an official or several players surrounding an official and disagreeing with a decision.

3. Continuous Infringement of the Rules

It is understandable for some infringement to occur during a soccer match. However, a player repeatedly infringing on the laws of soccer would be given a yellow card. 

4. Delaying the Restarting of a Play

This is considered time-wasting. A player can delay the restarting of a match in several ways. This includes taking excessive time to celebrate a goal, deliberately taking a free kick from a wrong position, knowing the referee will ask it to be retaken, or even taking an excessive amount of time to take a free kick.

5. Entering or Re-entering the Field

Once a soccer match is in progress, players may not enter, re-enter or leave without the referee’s permission. Not complying with this rule is a recipe for getting a yellow card.

6. Not maintaining the required distance during a free or corner kick

During a corner or free kick, opposing players must stand at least 10 yards from the ball until it is in play. Failure to comply after a warning can result in receiving a yellow card.

Can Managers and Coaches get Yellow Cards?

We often see players on the field being shown a yellow card. You might not know that team officials can get a yellow card too. Any team official, including team coaches and managers, can be issued a yellow card for misconduct during a soccer game. If the referee isn’t sure who the offender is, the referee is permitted to caution the most senior member of the coaching staff present. 

The list of offenses a team official may be cautioned for includes:

  • Their team is delaying the restart of a play
  • Entering the technical area of the opposing team on purpose
  • Entering the referee review area
  • Dissent by word or action
  • Acting or gesturing provocatively.
  • Repeatedly displaying unacceptable behavior
  • Showing a general lack of respect for the game.

How Long Does a Yellow Card Last?

Once a player has been shown a yellow card, the caution lasts for the entirety of the football match. Regardless of the time, the player gets shown the card. The player is to remain cautious for the rest of the game. 

The offending player automatically gets a red card if the player flouts the rules again and is cautioned. This implies that getting a yellow card is one caution away from getting a red card and having to stop playing. And a red card means an automatic suspension from the next game.

Once the entire game is over, the caution is removed and the player has no yellow card to their name. However, the yellow card is carried over during a major soccer competition or a soccer season. A carry-over of yellow cards is done until a previously agreed number is reached will lead to the player being suspended from the next game. But in the semi-final round, any carry-over yellow cards are removed.

 Final Thoughts

Soccer rules are clear. A player or team official receiving a yellow card in soccer is warned to be cautious. Excessive contact or persistent infractions are regulated with yellow cards. A player that receives two yellow cards in separate games during early knock-out phases or group stages of the competition will be banned from the next match via a game suspension. In some leagues, players are punished for getting a yellow card in two consecutive games.

Receiving two yellow cards in a single game is an automatic red card. A player that leaves a field due to getting a red card will not be replaced for two minutes. This implies that the team must play with one less player than the opposing team during the two minutes. This may give the opposing team ample opportunity to score a goal.