What does a red card mean in soccer?

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Penalty cards in soccer play an important role in this sport. The most common types of cards are soccer yellow and red cards soccer. So what is a red card in soccer? Or what does a red card mean in soccer? Let’s join Scott Fujita to dig it out.

What does a red card mean in soccer?

A red card soccer to a player means there was a serious foul or other misconduct. They will have to leave the playing field immediately.

When this automatic red card is used, it means that the player has committed an error. In the rules set forth by FIFA, let’s see specifically how to get a red card in soccer.

Red card in soccer mean scottfujita
Red card in soccer mean

1. Serious foul play or guilty of serious foul

Unfair play can be subjective or not. It also depends on the judge’s judgment. The act of intentionally destroying an opponent is unsportsmanlike conduct.

Example: The player makes shots on the ball with both feet. It endangers your team’s players. That player may receive an immediate red card if the referee considers the action to be intentional.

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2. Spitting and abusing language and or gestures

The player who spits will almost certainly receive a red card immediately. Insulting or abusive language is also dealt with harshly. Insults or racism also lead to red cards being used.

3. Violent conduct

Automatic red cards are used due to any acts of violence. For example, kicking, punching, elbowing or kneeling, so on.

4. Intentionally making a mistake

When the striker is having a clear scoring opportunity to an opponent or obvious goal scoring opportunity. However, the opponent intentionally committed a foul to prevent the goal. Thus, this foul can bring a red card. The player who receives a red card needs to be out of the field and may not be replaced.

The act of deliberately using hands to play in an attempt to block the ball into the net also causes the player to receive a red card.

Related: What is offsides in soccer

5. Get 2 yellow cards

In soccer rules, 2 yellow cards equal 1 red card. Players receiving a second yellow card will have no right to continue play. Therefore, the player should avoid fouling and receive two yellow cards. This will mean being given another red card. The player of the team must leave the field and cannot be replaced.

Two yellow cards in soccer equal 1 red card scottfujita

What does a yellow card mean in soccer?

Yellow card in soccer means “warning” in soccer games. A player will receive a yellow card for a foul on another player.

There are 6 offenses that can lead to a yellow card as below:

1. Unsporting behavior

This could be an attempt to deceive the referee. The extravagant act of celebrating a goal can also cause a player to receive a yellow card. That unsporting behavior will make the player receive a red card.

2. Disagreement by actions or words

The umpire is the one who has full authority to decide on the field. A player will be shown a yellow card if:

  • Are there any disagreements like grumpy comments.
  • Overreacting to the referee’s decision.

3. Continually breaking the law

If a player regularly violates the rules, the referee may issue a yellow card. The player who receives two yellow cards will have no right to join the football game any more. So he needs to be careful not to break laws of the game again.

4. Buying time

Buying time describes that the player uses a long time to serve the ball or throw-in. This may intentionally prolong the time to finish the game quickly. It often happens when the advantage is not in their favor.

5. Not standing in the right position

Opponent players have to stand 10 meters away from the ball at the free kick or corner. In failing to do so, they could get an unwanted yellow card. 

6. Inappropriate entry and exit playing field

Once a game is in progress, players cannot enter or leave the field. Deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission may cause a player to receive a yellow card.

Soccer yellow and red cards scottfujita
Soccer yellow and red cards

What is the origin of the red and yellow cards?

1966 was the first time a red card appeared. The person responsible for overseeing the referees at that year’s World Cup – Ken Aston was the one who started the red card.

You know, there are many countries participating in the World Cup. So the variety of languages spoken at the World Cup is huge. Aston sees a number of instances where foul situations cannot always be clearly explained.

So he came up with today’s colored card system. These cards were introduced in the 1970 World Cup. Today, red cards and yellow cards still exist in football and many other sports.

How are red cards in football applied?

How to catch errors with a red card is also very clearly defined in Article 12 of the Law of Football. Any player receiving a red card from the referee will be disqualified and must leave the field immediately.

The team that has a player with a red card has absolutely no right to make a substitution from the bench. They must continue to play with a 10-man squad. Similarly, if the team has 2 people with red cards, they have to play with 9 people.

This type of card can be applied to all players from the main player to the substitute and even the coach. If the person receiving the card is a goalkeeper, the coach can still send another player to replace it.


With such rules, the players of the teams need to understand and avoid violating them. In case of violation, the player will be suspended for at least 1 match. What does red card mean in soccer? As you see, red cards are to ensure a fair and safe football match. The red card soccer form is the penalty that the players need to take.

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