Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 22806

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/9/2010

RE: Rec Adult

Lori Arnett of Georgetown, Texas USA asks...

My nephew who players High School soccer in Florida, played a game today where a player had a hand ball in the goal box and was issued a blue card, suspended from the game and the team had to play the rest of the game a player short. I have never heard of a blue card or this happening. can you explain this to me? thanks

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Blue cards are usually used in indoor games to indicate the player must go to the 'sin bin' for a timeout. If the incident happened near the end of the game, his suspension would be for the rest of the game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

I've always known that high school rules were really bizarre. But this one takes the cake. Either the referee used a blue card (which in the indoor game rates less than a yellow card) as substitue for his possibly forgotten red card, or it's another case where the referee has decided to make something up that doesn't exist in the LOTG -- or in this case, the NHSF rules. In either case, use of a 'blue card' is not authorized for the outdoor Game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

View Referee Debbie Hoelscher profile

Answer provided by Referee Tom Stagliano

Ms. Arnett

Let me make certain I have the scenario correct:
You are in Texas, and within the last 24 hours your nephew played a high school soccer game in Florida?

Therefore, all of this is second or third-hand information.

At this time of the year in Florida, the teams are in the Post Season tournament. This means (from my visits to FL high school soccer games) games played at night, under the lights (sometimes poor lights) with reasonably large crowds.

Stadium lights can have strange effects. I used to carry a neon green card, that when displayed under stadium lights Looked Yellow.

Therefore, I believe what happened is as follows:
The player handled the ball in the penalty area. It was deemed to be denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity and the player was shown a Red card and dismissed from the game. The stadium lights played a trick on whomever relayed the story to you, and the lights made the red card look blue for the moment it was seen.

As this was a straight red card dismissal, the team would play short-handed for the remainder of the game.

Enjoy the soccer playoffs and enjoy your Adult league in Texas.

- Stag

Read other questions answered by Referee Tom Stagliano

View Referee Tom Stagliano profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Dear Lori
The use of the blue card is restricted to small sided games and it is used to suspend a player for a period of usually two minutes into what is referred to as the 'sin bin'. Its use is not authorised for outdoor games in any code.
Cards are a communication tool and they are used to convey a decision. In this case the player committed a sending off offence by denying an opponent a goal scoring opportunity or goal by deliberately handling the ball inside the penalty area. It is referred to as a DOGSO H. The player is dismissed for this offence and the team plays short. The referee should have shown the player a red card.
Clearly he has made a mistake by showing a blue card and there can be reasons for this the most obvious one is error.
The fact though is that the player was dismissed and the showing of an incorrect card or indeed the failure to show any card does not nullify the dismissal decision.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee MrRef


Apparently in Florida, the high school association (FHSAA) does use a blue card. This is displayed when a player denies a goal by illegal use of the hands, and requires the player be sent off and the team play short:

'(7) A player who violates NFHS Rule 12-8-3(d1) shall be guilty of a hand ball foul (non-contact with opponent) and disqualified for serious foul play. The player shall be issued a blue card and disqualified from further competition in the game and shall not be replaced on the field with a substitute.'

However, unlike a red card, the blue cards are not reported to the state (FHSAA) and the player serves no suspension and the school may not have to pay a fine.

Just an opinion - this is a ridiculous rule. If a player denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity, this is a major crime, yet the player suffers no suspension and the school no fine? If that same player, instead of using his hands on the ball, uses his hands to grab the opponent away from the ball, he is issued a red card and a suspension and the school pays a fine .

Read other questions answered by Referee MrRef

View Referee MrRef profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 22806
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 22821

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.