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: 33313

Mechanics 5/5/2019

RE: Competitive Under 19

Gary Robinson of Pleasant Grove, UT USA asks...

Can a single player ever be shown multiple cards for the same play? I had a situation where a player made a reckless challenge to 'earn' his second yellow card of the match. After I blew the whistle, he stood up and clearly, and deliberately, spit on his opponent who was still on the ground. I showed him the yellow card, then red card for being the second yellow, and dismissed him from the match. Should I have shown him a second red card for spitting? It would not have affected him for that match, but may have had some bearing on the number of subsequent matches he would miss. I did put the details of both the challenge and the spit into the match report.

If a second card can be shown, what are the mechanics of doing so?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Gary,
This player's conduct is disgraceful and rather than go the yellow to red route it is appropriate to show him a direct red! Sending him to the showers directly would serve as a better mechanic for the more heinous action. . Two cautions for USB is certainly no badge of honor as it results in a red card send off as well but the spit is DIRECT Red card misconduct and the more likely to be factored into additional disciplinary action on top of whatever the double yellow might bring in its own . You were certainly correct to record the fact of the two reckless yellow cautions and then subsequent spitting as THREE separate incidents in the match report but the need to show a yellow then a red and red again is NOT necessary NOR expected as a mechanic and not going to change anything as to the fact the player is being sent off. A well written concise match report with times and reasons documented make the disciplinary committees job much easier to define suitable punishments or sanctions Cheers

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gary,
If you are talking about red cards then no, you should not show a second red card to a player. After the first red card has been shown the player is in effect, no longer part of the game and any further conduct that would be worthy of a red card if he had not already got one should instead be part of your match report (as indeed, you say it was). Once the report goes into whatever disciplinary process exists for the competition in question, the player will receive disciplinary sanctions relating to both the original red card and the subsequent spitting incident and so the length of any suspension will factor in both offences.

Also, if we think about why red cards exist and why they are used, their purpose is to make it clear to everyone - players (especially where language barriers exist) team officials, spectators etc, what has actually happened.

The man who came up with concept of red and yellow cards was the renowned English referee, Ken Aston. The idea came to him after the controversial game between hosts England and Argentina during the 1966 World Cup. Match reports in newspapers claimed that the referee had booked both Charlton brothers, Bobby and Jack. Apparently, the referee had not indicated this publicly, and England manager Alf Ramsey approached FIFA for clarification. It started a train of thought in Aston's head too. He began to think about ways to avoid such problems in the future. He explained it as follows: ''As I drove down Kensington High Street, the traffic light turned red. I thought, 'Yellow, take it easy; red, stop, you're off'.''

The referee's decision to send the player off is the important thing - the red card is just the outwardly visible sign that the player is being sent off. Once the player (and everyone else) knows that the player has already been sent off because they've all seen the red card, there is no need for a second red card - the player cannot leave the game twice.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
Only one red card is required to be shown when a player is sent off. The player is no longer part of the game so showing another card is futile. He can however commit further misconduct which must be included in the sending off report. A second red card is not shown.
It is not unusual for a player after getting a red card to use offensive, insulting and abusive language/ gesture towards a match official which is a red card offence in its own right and this is included in the report along the line that after the player was shown the red card he proceeded to .......
In this case the player could have been shown a straight red card for spitting. That offence in a way trumped the second yellow card. Had the spitting happened after the player was shown a second yellow followed by the red card then the player has committed serious misconduct by spitting at an opponent. Irrespective of all that the report should be detailed out exactly what happened along the lines you described
It is important how that is written and the timing of the cards is a factor in the report.
In most Leagues spitting caries a more serious suspension sanction and certainly a lot more than for a two yellow red card dismissal.
What I suspect will happen here is that the disciplinary panel will sanction the player for the two caution red card dismissal and add on the appropriate sanction for the spitting misconduct. In Italy a player got 4 additional games ban recently for spitting. In our Leagues it is a mandatory minimum of 6 games for spitting and 12 months for spitting at a match official.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33313
Read other Q & A regarding Mechanics

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.