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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33376

Mechanics 5/22/2019

RE: All Professional

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

If a direct RC is rescinded after VAR review, what is the proper procedure to communicate this? For example, if the referee sent off a player for a studs up tackle, but VAR review shows that there were no studs showing but was a reckless tackle, how would the downgrade from red to yellow be communicated?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
The referee will convey his decision on field which should be obvious based on the outcome the change of mind. As Referee Grove points out some referees have used the wave off / away motion with the hands. The referee can also use the captains to convey his decision.
If on review a red card is overturned to say a yellow card or no card the referee could bring the player aside and inform him of the change and show the yellow card or perhaps the wave away motion. The captains can also be used to convey the call. There should be no doubt to everyone on a red card review that as the player is allowed to continue with a yellow card shown to him or maybe a wave away motion that he has been told the red card has been rescinded
Here is an example
From what I see here the referee has issued a second yellow and a red card. He has then reviewed the incident, spoke to both captains and restarted with an outbound free kick. Clearly the cards were rescinded with the player staying on the field of play.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dereck , you deal with it verbally by informing those in attendance, player carded coaches etc.. we prefer not to have to rewrite history but in the interest of fairness we need to get it right not appease our ego. If you send a player off and realize oh crap I was wrong, be it a VAR review or a late AR input or a realization you made a mistake PRIOR to the restart of play. You simply tell them my bad and if there is no card to be shown or the color change is to yellow from red you do the same as if displaying it for the first time.. You eat the humble pie and get on with it, be it a different restart than you intended or the same & really really try not to do it again.
My suggestion would be aside from the verbal explanation and maybe an apology , , hold out the card in the palm of the hand, point to the card and do the safe sign, put it back inside the pocket but do NOT raise them if they are simply being erased. In the case of a direct red card rescinded to a caution, just show a yellow card in a normal fashion and he STAYS on the FOP. If those watching can not figure out that the red card was revoked given the player is Still playing, maybe they should be watching a different game. Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Derek,
The VAR protocol states that:

''If the referee changes or rescinds/cancels any disciplinary action it is very important that this is made very clear to everyone ...''

Unfortunately, it does not give any specifics on how exactly this should be done. There have been a number of cases where cards have been rescinded and this was not clearly indicated, leading to confusion on the part of spectators, commentators etc (the protocol stipulates that it must be clear to ''spectators etc'') and the referees involved were criticised for this. For a red card that is being downgraded to a yellow, the fact that the yellow is shown and the player remains on the pitch, should be a clear enough indication. Probably the clearest (and therefore the best) examples I have seen for rescinding a yellow card is where after the review is completed, the referee holds up the card and then does a 'cutting the grass' gesture to show that the card is being cancelled.

Please note that while a VAR review cannot be initiated for yellow cards, according to the protocol:

''they can be issued or rescinded following a review of a penalty, goal, red card or a 'missed' incident''.

Yellow cards can also be rescinded in the case of mistaken identity.

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