The Yellow card, Football

Today a player is shown a yellow card for a bad or dangerous foul, or for seeking to gain an advantage by a cynical or so-called ‘professional foul’. Despite this, fouls continue in football as much as ever and referees brandish yellow cards to no avail. Players shamelessly exploit current football rules to their own ends. The aim of the player who deliberately fouls is to avoid a goal being scored. He hampers the opponent and accepts the consequences of a warning. If for example a player, 40 metres from his own goal, badly fouls an opponent, a free kick will be given and then taken from the location of the foul. The fouling player knows that a goal is seldom scored from this distance. The punishment for a bad foul should therefore be changed.

Suggested new rule: If a player is shown a yellow card, this will be penalised by a free kick from anywhere on the 18-yard line of the opposition’s penalty area.

Another change involves the second yellow card (yellow-red). The risk of being shown a red card after a second yellow card becomes increasingly insignificant towards the end of the match. In the 80th minute of a match, a player who has not been shown a yellow card can easily risk a bad foul and a first yellow card. If he commits another bad foul in the 87th minute, he will be sent off the pitch, but the match has almost finished so the effect on his team of his loss will be minimal. A bad, dangerous or tactical foul should be penalized by a free kick from anywhere on the 18-yard line of the penalty area and not by a player being sent off.

Suggested new rule: A player who is shown a yellow card for a third time during a match must be sent off.


Another rule that should be abolished is that of banning players from future matches after being shown 5 yellow cards in that season. The fouls should be punished in the same game, and no liability should be carried forward to following matches, as it is then the next opposing teams that gains an unfair advantage from the absence of the player, rather than the team against which the foul was committed.

New rule: No bans should be carried forward to the following matches because of yellow cards.


Photos: Football fans


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