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Question Number: 29531

Mechanics 7/13/2015

Patrick of Champlin, MN USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29527

When reading through this question, it got me thinking. What is the proper mechanic when rescinding a card.
We have the example of immediately rescinding red to yellow care of Jorge Gonzalez (, but what about the mechanics to switch to a different player in the case of mistaken identity? Or specifically to the previous question, how to rescind the card all together?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Patrick
The way to rescind a card is to inform the player verbally that the card should not have been shown. While not required it would certainly help if the opposing captain was also informed just in case the player is cautioned again and the team expect the player to be sent off.
In the case of mistaken identity the correct player is shown the card and the player incorrectly caution informed that his card is rescinded. It might help to loudly state that an error was made such as *I cautioned the wrong player and Im putting it right now.* and hold up the hands. At least players in the vicinity will know what has been done to correct the error.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Patrick,
getting it right is more important than saving face or looking good. There are no straightforward proper mechanics when rescinding a card. It is not a mistake one should make! It will somewhat depend on the time delay and circumstances. If you catch it before any restart! You need to man up, clarify the decision and ensure those playing or coaching are aware. I suggest gather in both captains and the player who is to be charged and the player about to be forgiven. Guys I made a mistake!(a)He is not guilty so I remove his name from the records no caution (b)He though is guilty he is being cautioned show the yellow card and it is now recorded in my match report please inform your team/coaches and staff I will ensure my ARS/4th are also informed. If you noted the humour and the body language of Gonzalez in the Ronaldinho incident most of those confused still had a chuckle rather than go ballistic. Although it could be risky I kind a of like the idea of giving the card to the player having him show it back to you then you visibly taking the card back as outlined by my colleague Ref Mueller. Not sure if those in attendance will get the full meaning but it will sure fire up the gossip mill lol
You also may get caught in the LOTG fine print which state,
A referee cannot CHANGE a decision once play has been restarted. In cases where you think a card was shown improperly or to a wrong player to try and rectify the mistake at a later time it might be too late to show cards or change your decision, all you can do is include that information in the match report.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Patrick,

I've rescinded cards on two occasions that i can recall, one red, one yellow. On both occasions it was in a crowded penalty area so most players were within 20 yards, so as well as ensuring the player was well aware I simply stated loudly that I was rescinding the card.

In a mid-field scenario with fewer players around, I may consider calling in the captains to advise them. Really depends on the scenario and if I think I've communicated it well enough.

Don't forget to make sure your assistants are aware at half-time - it could get messy if you caution that player later and an AR tries to tell you it was his second caution!

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Just verbal announcing the decision is all that is needed. Chuck Flesisher taught me to hand the player the card and then have the player give you back the card as a signal to all that the card is being taken back. This is not mentioned in any FIFA or USSF materials though.

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