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Question Number: 34259

Law 5 - The Referee 6/29/2021

RE: Pro Adult

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...

Can a referee warn a player who has already been booked in the match? I think there is no rule that prevents it but in any case, would it be acceptable for a referee to warn an already-booked player?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
Yes a referee can warn a player on a caution which is at the discretion of the referee. Some cautions are mandatory such as shirt removal after scoring a goal, second movement off the line by a goalkeeper on a penalty retake, uses a deliberate trick to play the ball to the goalkeeper, etc.
On occasions I have said to players * what do you not understand about being on a caution?* where there was a potential second caution situation. The discretion afforded the referee allowed me to not issue a card yet to warn the player that if he persisted he could be dismissed.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Crebs,
I have not only warned the player but given the coaching staff, a heads up that their player was treading on thin ice, and substitution might better serve their team than a send-off or card for a sin-bin experience.

In youth often key players were targeted by the opposition and due to the emotional volatility of some, they were easier to provoke than others, because they put so much effort into leading their team. Many hard-working players desperately try to lift their team to compete effectively if down in score or being dominated or needing a result.

Unfortunately, these efforts often use reckless or very careless actions to motivate, rash tackles a bit of too much force, or a need to act as an enforcer if their weaker players were targeted in some way. It is true as neutral officials we are not supposed to interact favorably with one side or the other but often in managing the match, you realize certain players run on supercharged emotions and it is beneficial to ground them in reality.

I recall in the distant past, awarding a PK for a foul in the Penalty area with caution yellow card attached. . It was not something the player who did the deed reacted to well, as the opposition scored, in what he may have imagined, was my mistake, not his. He stayed upset and he was the main dude for his team on the FOP but he was jumping into tackles that he had no chance of winning. To me it was obvious he was still upset about causing the goal and was trying hard to make up for it. As I passed by the technical area I suggested to the coach that perhaps his player was trying too hard to make up for his putting their team behind a goal that he was looking ill a bit reddish. They took the hint subbed him, calmed him sent him back and he was fine. High school had auto timeouts for players cautioned for this very reason.

In the same vein, I have pulled both non cautioned and cautioned players up. who by their actions and sometimes verbal outcries you knew they were headhunting or just plain fed up at their inability to get that goal or compete effectively and were going to cause harm or mischief that you could not ignore.

I too use exactly the same concept as my esteemed colleague Ref McHugh stated, looking directly into the player's eyes trying to get a read, " What do you not understand about being on a caution? You are too good a player to act like this? Your team needs you on the field not sitting in the stands holding your head in your hands feeling sorry for yourself. . Do not give me a reason to send you off! Pull it together and play hard but fair!

For the most part, I get decent results but some people's kids are what they are and do what they do.

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