What does a yellow card mean in soccer?

THE WORLD Cup is back with Qatar playing host to 32 nations vying for the famous trophy.

And with the increased attention comes fans – new and old – looking to cheer on their fellow countrymen and in need of a refresher on one of soccer’s key areas.

A Denmark soccer player was stunned when the referee gives him a yellow card.

What does a yellow card mean in soccer?

One of the most common things you will see in a soccer game is a yellow card.

In fact, Russian referee Valentin Ivanov completed a FIFA World Cup record by issuing 16 yellow cards and 4 red cards in a single game back in 2006.

When a referee shows a player a yellow card, it conveys to the player he has committed an act of unsporting behavior, was consistently infringing the rules of the game, dissenting, or delaying the restart of the game.

If a player is shown one yellow card, it serves as a warning to the player.

However, if they are shown two yellow cards in the same game, it is upgraded to a red card.

This means they are sent off and must leave the field of play for the remainder of the match.

What happens when a player gets a yellow card?

A referee will award a yellow card to a player if they deem that they have committed an offense or breached the rules of the game.

The official will stop play to issue the card to the player with the majority of the time, a free kick or penalty being given in favor of the opposing team.


Receiving the yellow card then means that a player will have to be careful to avoid another.

As in many major soccer competitions, yellow cards are counted up throughout the games played.

Once a player accumulates a previously decided number of yellow cards, it could then result in a suspension.

For the 2022 World Cup, two yellow cards in different matches will result in a suspension for the next game.

If this cannot be served during the tournament in Qatar, it will be carried over to their next official match for their country.

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What is classified as unsporting behavior?

Unsporting behavior can be a bit subjective.

According to Coaching American Soccer, here are some common examples:

Attempts to deceive the referee
Makes unauthorized marks on the field of play
Handles the ball to interfere with or stop a promising attack
Shows a lack of respect for the game
Verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart

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