As the world’s most popular sport, it is expected that soccer games can have arguments, and issues that may arise between players and referees. When a penalty is called in soccer, a potential yellow card may be awarded to the player who has committed an offense within the match. Once awarded, many people may wonder: how long does a yellow card last once given to a player?
When a soccer player receives a yellow card, it will last until the end of the match. Each yellow card that is given will depend on the player’s misconduct, recklessness, or extreme physical contact. Many other situations can also result in a yellow card being given to a player.
As you can see, the yellow card can be given to anyone whenever the referee feels it is necessary to do so. This article will focus on the duration of a yellow card’s impact on a player and how it can affect them during the game.
Duration of a Yellow Card in Soccer
When a yellow card is given to a player, they could be kicked out of the game if another severe penalty is called against them. This allows the game officials and referees to be aware of any penalties or misconduct that occurs, and repeated offenses are likely to result in a more severe punishment for the offending player.
If a player receives a yellow card at the beginning of the match, they must be careful not to receive another during the remainder of the 80-minute match. This is why it is generally better to receive a yellow card later in the game rather than sooner, as this leaves a much smaller probability that the player will be ejected from the game for a repeat offense. However, it is ideal for the player to not receive any yellow cards.
While in the vast majority of cases, yellow cards do not impact a player after the specific match is complete, there are some special circumstances in which there are more severe consequences for extreme offenses. Yellow cards can be tied to the player’s records for that entire season depending on the severity of the penalty that would warrant such a card. However, this is highly irregular and really only applies to the most intense and aggressive offenses and situations.
Overall, yellow cards are given to keep tabs on offending players to ensure that both teams are compliant with the official rules and regulations of the sport throughout each game of the season.
Red Card Equivalents
Yellow cards are given for minor offenses, while red cards are given for more severe offenses and results in the automatic removal of the offending player. However, any player that receives a total of two yellow cards in a single game will have the same consequences as if they had been given a single red card. This means that all players who receive a red card, or two yellow cards, will be removed from the field and will be unable to participate as a player for the remainder of the game.
While it is better to receive a yellow card than a red card, this rule effectively discourages any misconduct, violence, or otherwise unacceptable behavior without placing too harsh of a punishment for a single offense that is not severe.
Any Differences Between Levels of Soccer?
These rules associated with yellow cards given to specific players are universal across all soccer levels and other applicable sports. This means that once a yellow card is presented, everyone knows what it means. In the earlier days of soccer, before the card system, verbal warnings were given. However, these warnings were often misinterpreted by both the players and the spectators and were therefore replaced by the current card system.
The card system is far more favorable than verbal warnings, especially because of the visual representation it provides. Spectators of all backgrounds, viewing methods, and locations are able to see the referee holding the yellow or red card after the offending action is committed and immediately know what call was made regardless of their ability to effectively hear the call being announced aloud.
In higher-level soccer, players may find that a yellow card can remain attached to their records for the remainder of the season. This applies to professional soccer players, and to some college and higher-level leagues of soccer as well. With high school and younger players, however, it is highly unlikely that any yellow cards that are given in play would affect a single player for longer than simply the duration of the game in which the card is given them.
What Warrants a Yellow Card?
Now that we have reviewed briefly the duration of yellow cards, their equivalence to red cards, and the levels of soccer, let’s address what a soccer player could do to be given a yellow card.
Any type of reckless and/or inappropriate action made while on the field constitutes a yellow card, which will be judged by the referees and other game officials. Their review and judgment of the insubordination will determine whether the player will be given no card, a yellow card, or a red card.
A yellow card is generally given whenever a player intentionally trips, pushes, or grabs another player in a way that could potentially result in serious harm to that other player. Overall, any physical harm will result in a yellow card, or worse, a red card, and two offenses in one game will automatically result in a red card.
Other ways a player may receive a yellow card include:
- Obstructing and preventing goal attempts.
- Handling the ball as a non-goalie player.
- Feigning an injury.
- Forms of rude or inappropriate comments and other verbal abuse.
- Leaving the field without the permission of the referee.
- Wasting time resulting in a delayed game.
- Excessive celebrations (such as the removal of a jersey to celebrate a goal).
In short, yellow cards should be taken seriously, especially in close games. One yellow card too many could result in the removal of a player that is vital to the success of a team, and in many cases, could even cost a team the game! These cards offer a physical representation of the call being made, making it easily understood by all kinds of people. Yellow cards generally only impact a player for the duration of a single game, but professional levels of soccer have ways of holding these consequences over players who commit offenses.