In the game of football, referees always have two coloured cards to show that there is foul behaviour. These two cards are usually inside the shirt pocket of the referees. It is never a good sign when you see referees reaching for their pockets because it only means that a player has committed a foul. The referee’s cards are usually yellow and red cards. When either of these cards is raised, the game will be stopped by the referee to inform the offending player as well as others that a card has been given to the player.
The player is called over on the field and the referee takes down his name in his notebook. When a referee takes down a player’s name, it is referred to as booking the player and in this case, when a player has been booked, it means that either of the cards issued will entitle the other team to be awarded a direct kick or an indirect kick.
A yellow card is issued to when the referee intends to formally caution a player for committing any of these offences:
- “Unsporting behaviour”
Unsporting behaviour includes cases where a player commits a hand foul. For instance, where the player holds the opponent to prevent him from gaining access to the ball, it is considered a foul. Also other examples of unsporting behavior is when a player fakes injury, distracting the opponent with confusing words, harassing opponents, jumping right in front of a free kick or corner kick, preventing the goalkeeper from kicking the ball into play, threatening opponents or pulling them by the shirt and every other behavior on the field of play that the referee considers as unsporting behaviour.
- Intentionally walking away from the field without the authorization of the referee.
- Deliberately causing delay when the play is to be restarted.
- Disagreement by word or actions.
- Constantly flouting the rules.
- Defenders refusing to keep the proper distance away from the kicker when playing a corner kick, throw in or a free kick.
- Walking into the field or re-entering the field without any consent from the referee.
When a player gets two yellow cards from a referee, he was will then be issued a red card after committing another foul. The player with the red card will be ejected from the field. When a player is asked to leave the game, the referee may or may not give his team permission to replace the player. The team will have to play on the field with one player short till the end of the match.
During the game, a player will be issued a red card if he commits the following offences according to the rules of the game:
- Violent behaviour
- Touching the ball intentionally with a hand to divert a goal scoring opportunity which is very obvious.
- Spitting on the opponent or anyone.
- After receiving a second yellow card in the same game.
- Using offensive words or gestures to threaten the opponent.
- Holding an opponent to prevent an obvious goal opportunity.
- Serious foul play; which includes dangerously tackling an opponent from behind, using excessive force against the opponent, lunging at an opponent in order to get the ball and any conduct that endangers the safety of the opponent. FIFA’s makes special emphasis on conduct that defines serious foul play in its rules.
FIFA does not eject players from the field after they have received a yellow card but in other Leagues, a player may be ejected from the game with a yellow card. It is best to follow the rules of the league during a game.