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Giving a yellow card when it doesn't affect play. Does it ever happen?
April 30, 2012 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Football (soccer): if a player does a cautionable offence (or an offense that has been repeated enough times to warrant a caution), but it does not affect the run of play at all, can they still be given a yellow once the ball is out of play? Examples inside.

If a defender attempts to use his hand to prevent a ball from going over the goal line, and despite hitting it still fails to prevent the goal, can they be given a yellow card?

What if there is a non-agressive tackle where the player misses the ball, and the referee plays advantage. Can the ref then go back and give the offending player a yellow?

Can I "barge" another player on the pitch when the ball is nowhere near? Can I tug someone's shirt over their head if we're nowhere near the ball? And if I try to tug someone's shirt as hard as I can, but they wriggle free and continue with the ball, can I be carded once the ball is out of play?

I don't remember seeing it ever happen, and yet there's nothing in the FA rules that I can find that says it shouldn't.

Of course, violent offences do not apply here. Of course violent offenses can be penalised at any time, regardless of advantage.
posted by omnigut to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Ref here. Violent offences are not special. Any offence that would normally result in a caution can also result in one if the ball nowhere near and/or advantage has been played. And the ref is free to give cautions or send people off at the next stoppage after an advantage.

You specific questions: the handball can still be cautioned under unsporting conduct if the ball goes. Of course it's a red card for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity if it doesn't.

Re: "barge", depends on the barge. Football is a contact sport and not all barges are fouls. But it would be a foul with the ball nearby then it's certainly a foul if the ball is nowhere near. And no, there are no circumstances in which you can pull someone's shirt over their head or tug their shirt.
posted by caek at 3:41 PM on April 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hi Caek, thanks for the response. This was my feeling on things. However, my brother is of the opinion that we are wrong. In the Premier League, at least, he says this kind of thing would never happen. It's a "rough" league. So regardless of what the rules say, the referees will never give yellows for the aforementioned situations, whether they be part of the rulebook or not.

Don't know what to tell him. In your opinion, would the opinion of the referee be enough to ignore these fouls and not caution them?
posted by omnigut at 3:47 PM on April 30, 2012


Asking 'will this happen in Premier League' is a very different question to 'will this ever happen'.
posted by jacalata at 4:05 PM on April 30, 2012


Thanks Jacalata. So are you of the opinion that these cards wouldn't be given in the EPL? That the refs are told not to give them? Or am I mis-remembering, and the refs, in fact, do give these fouls?

Without wanting to derail this conversation, it appears to me that the EPL has more confusing rules RE: interpretation than any other sport. I'm probably wrong, though. Feel free to message me if you want to continue that conversation :)
posted by omnigut at 4:20 PM on April 30, 2012


if a player does a cautionable offence (or an offense that has been repeated enough times to warrant a caution), but it does not affect the run of play at all, can they still be given a yellow

Sure, you can get carded for running your mouth off (see also: Craig Bellamy's entire career) or kicking the ball out of play, both of which don't affect play itself.

EPL refs are under instruction to keep the games moving. If a shirt-pull has no impact on the run of play, then the ref may note it and say "let's not have any more of that" when he's able. If the player keeps up the bad behavior, then they'll get a card, possibly for ignoring the ref. It's in the players' interests to test the ref's boundaries after all.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:57 PM on April 30, 2012


Your brother is confused. It's not that the situations your talking about wouldn't result in a caution. It's that the situations you describe rarely happen in the first place, in any league, including the Premier League.

Deliberate goal line handball is extremely rare. Unsuccessful deliberate goal line handball is basically unheard of. It only makes sense to do it if you're sure you can stop the ball, precisely because it does attract a yellow card. You don't see outfield players making diving saves. The reason you don't see them do it because if you touch the ball and fail then you concede a goal and get a caution.

If your brother seriously thinks you can tug someone's shirt over their head or pull on it as hard as you can in the Premier League then he is wrong. He is right that it rarely happens. At that level most foul play is "cleverer". Shirt tugging is very common (especially before a corner kick) but often difficult for the referee to spot. It's rarely dangerous or particularly violent so, if spotted, it shouldn't be a caution in any league (including the EPL), but if you do it to a player who is through on goal then you can expect to be sent off (for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity). If you do it repeatedly then you might get a caution for persistent infringement (i.e. the "don't be a dick" rule).

As for giving cards after advantage is played, this happens. It's rare because the kind of foul that results in a caution/sending off doesn't usually result in an advantageous situation. This is because the player is lying on the ground rather than through on goal about to score. And even if there is a violent challenge followed by an advantageous situation, refs play advantage less than they perhaps should in the first place. So a card after advantage is rare. But it does happen.

Fouls off the ball or misconduct while the ball is out of play are very common and regularly attract cards.

The Premier League is a "rough" league compared to many other countries' top leagues or international football, but it's not rough compared to the lower English leagues or a lot of competitive non-professional adult football. Except for local rules about substitutions, match duration, tie situations, penalty shoot outs, etc., the rules of FIFA-authorised 11-a-side football on grass are the same everywhere. Interpretation certainly varies, but the rules on paper are the same.
posted by caek at 4:59 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of your question seems to ask whether, when an offence is committed but the referee waves play on, the referee can later (when the ball goes out of play) proceed to issue a yellow card for the original offence.

If that is your question, the answer is yes and it happens all the time. I could search for youtube evidence if you like, but it happens pretty much every weekend in the EPL.
posted by cincinnatus c at 5:26 PM on April 30, 2012


Sure, you can get carded for running your mouth off (see also: Craig Bellamy's entire career) or kicking the ball out of play, both of which don't affect play itself.

Just today, in the Manchester City - Manchester United derby, a player was cautioned for bouncing the ball high into the air in disgust after a ruling went against him. The reason? "Petulance." Also, delay of game (throwing or kicking the ball away from play before a restart.)

It only makes sense to do it if you're sure you can stop the ball, precisely because it does attract a yellow card.

An intentional handball in the box is an automatic yellow, as well as a PK. (Obviously, not if you're the goalkeeper.) An intentional handball on the goal line is a red card for DOGSO* and a PK.

To answer the question -- yes, a ref can play advantage, and at the next stoppage, caution the offender, and that stoppage may well be seconds later after the advantage proves not to play out. I've seen cases where advantage was played, a goal was scored, then the card was given.

In the past, the Football League First Division, and the early years in the EPL, refs were loathe to give soft yellows -- basically, if it wouldn't rate booking at a police station, it didn't rate a yellow, but when the EPL started to make real money and attract overseas talent, they realized that having your reducer take out that star was a real drag on income, and the EPL became much more interested in yellow cards -- esp. in cases of anything near the legs.

If you want a fun tour of oddball situations and how refs should handle them, I invite you to peruse You Are The Ref on The Grauniad's website.

* DOGSO: Denial of Goal Scoring Opportunity -- when it was an obvious goal *except* for the penalty, the offender is sent off immediately, and in almost all cases of DOGSO, there will be a penalty kick as well.

On of the more legendary moves in the EPL was a guy who, with his goalie out of position, handed down a ball at the goal line just out of sheer reaction. Having done so -- and realizing what he'd just done -- he turned and kicked the ball into his own goal, and pled it shouldn't be DOGSO.

The refs comment? "You're absolutely right. Goal scored, no DOGSO, no red card. Here's your yellow for intentional handball in the box, but you saved yourself there...."
posted by eriko at 7:33 PM on April 30, 2012


I meant to come back with an article i read recently in how much the EPL players get away with in the box for a corner kick and comparison to another league, but i couldnt find it.

wow eriko, do you remember a name for that incident or anything? Sounds awesome
posted by jacalata at 9:59 PM on April 30, 2012


I came in here to mention You Are The Ref, but eriko beat me to it. A wonderful site (and some of the comments are brilliant).

Just to add:

Can I "barge" another player on the pitch when the ball is nowhere near?


John Terry tried this for Chelsea against Barcelona and was red-carded (a knee in the back of the Barcelona player).

And if I try to tug someone's shirt as hard as I can, but they wriggle free and continue with the ball, can I be carded once the ball is out of play?

Shirt-pulling is a weird one. It happens so much that it doesn't get carded often. Watch any game and you'll see two players running for the ball, both grabbing each other's shirt. It seems that the refs take the view that rather than book every player on the pitch, they'll let it go unless it is outrageous. You'll also see the strange situation where a defender pulls a striker's shirt, and the striker dives forwards trying to win a foul - even though the actual foul was them being pulled backwards.

Also, obstruction and jostling in the goal box before a corner happens so often that refs basically let it go as long as the ball is not in play (though you will sometimes see them tell players off).
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:34 AM on May 1, 2012


An intentional handball in the box is an automatic yellow, as well as a PK.

This is not true. There is nothing in the written rules (see Laws of Association Football, Rule 12) about the penalty area when it comes to giving cautions. If it's an automatic caution in the area, it's an automatic caution outside the area. And a handball is not an automatic caution anywhere on the pitch.

A handball possibly a caution if it's deemed unsporting conduct, although it would have to be very clearly deliberate and result in a very significant advantage for it to be a caution under that rule. The "yellow card for deliberate handball" meme seems to get started on English school fields, but it's simply not in the rules, and it's not how refs who know what they are doing interpret the rules. It's an automatic sending off if you (successfully!) do it on the goal line of course.
posted by caek at 3:51 AM on May 1, 2012


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