Gambia: Football Facts - the Introduction of Yellow Card in Football

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A penalty card is used in many sports as a means of warning, reprimanding or penalising a player, coach or team official. Penalty cards are most commonly used by referees or umpires to indicate that a player has committed an offense.

The referee will hold the card above his or her head while looking or pointing towards the player that has committed the offense. The colour and/or shape of the card used by the official indicates the type or seriousness of the offence and the level of punishment that is to be applied.

By analogy the term is sometimes used in other areas than sport. For example, the UK Radio Authority speaks of issuing a yellow card to those who break its rules.

History and origin

The idea of using language-neutral coloured cards to communicate a referee's intentions originated with British football referee Ken Aston.[2] Aston had been appointed to the FIFAReferees' Committee and was responsible for all referees at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. In the quarter finals, England met Argentina at Wembley Stadium.

After the match, newspaper reports stated that referee Rudolf Kreitlein had cautioned both Bobby and Jack Charlton, as well as sending off Argentinian Antonio Rattin. The referee had not made his decision clear during the game, and England manager Alf Ramsey approached FIFA for post-match clarification. This incident started Aston thinking about ways to make a referee's decisions clearer to both players and spectators.

Aston realised that a colour coding scheme based on the same principle as used on traffic lights (yellow - caution, red - stop) would traverse language barriers and clarify whether a player had been cautioned or expelled.[2] As a result, yellow cards to indicate a caution and red cards to indicate an expulsion were used for the first time in the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. The use of penalty cards has since been adopted and expanded by several sporting codes, with each sport adapting the idea to its specific set of rules or laws. Commonly used penalty cards

Yellow card

A yellow card is used in many different sporting codes. Its meaning differs among sports, however it most commonly indicates a caution given to a player regarding his or her conduct, or indicates a temporary suspension. Examples include:

•Association football: A yellow card is shown by the referee to indicate that a player has been officially cautioned. The player's details are then recorded by the referee in a small notebook; hence a caution is also known as a "booking". A player who has been cautioned may continue playing in the game; however, a player who receives a second caution in a match is sent off (shown the yellow card again, and then a red card (see below)), meaning that he must leave the field immediately and take no further part in the game.

The player may not be replaced by a substitute. Law 12 of the Laws of the Game (which are set by the International Football Association Board and used by FIFA) lists the types of offences and misconduct that may result in a caution. It also states that "only a player, substitute or substituted player" can be cautioned.[3] A player is cautioned and shown a yellow card if he/she commits any of the following offences:

1. Dissent by word or action

2. Persistent infringement on the Laws of the Game

3. Delaying the restart of play (includes deliberate time-wasting tactics)

4. Failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, throw-in or free kick

5. Entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee's permission

6. Deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission

In addition, a player is cautioned and shown a yellow card for "unsporting behaviour" which, according to US Soccer, includes the following:

1. Commits a direct free kick foul in a reckless manner (for example, charging, pushing, tripping)

2. Commits a direct free kick foul in a reckless manner while tackling for the ball from any direction

3. Commits a tactical foul designed to interfere with or impede an opposing team's attacking play (e.g., pushing an opponent, blatantly holding an opponent or an opponent's uniform, handling the ball deliberately)

4. Handles the ball deliberately to score a goal

5. Commits an act which, in the opinion of the referee, shows a lack of respect for the game (e.g., aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, or taunting)

6. Fakes an injury or exaggerates the seriousness of an injury

7. Fakes a foul (dives) or exaggerates the severity of a foul

8. Interferes with or prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands into play

9.Verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart

10. Unfairly distracts or impedes an opponent performing a throw-in

11. Changes jerseys with the goalkeeper during play or without the referee's permission (both #players must be cautioned)

12. Engages in trickery to circumvent the goalkeeper's limitation on handling the ball played from a teammate's foot (the defender who initiates the "trickery" is cautioned, the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart)

13. Makes unauthorized marks on the field

14. Removes the jersey or covers the face with a mask or similar device after scoring a goal

15. Uses an artificial aid to unfairly assist play (for example, leaning on the shoulders of a teammate, using an article of clothing to avoid direct contact with the ball, moving or removing a corner flag on a corner kick, hanging on a crossbar)

16. Uses tobacco or tobacco products in any form in the area of the field

17. Beginning from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, feigning a kick during a penalty kick

A substitute or substituted player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he/she commits any of the following three offences:

1.Unsporting behaviour (as above)

2. Showing dissent by word or action

3.Delaying the restart of play

In most tournaments, the accumulation of a certain number of yellow cards over several matches results in disqualification of the offending player for a certain number of subsequent matches, the exact number of cards and matches varying by jurisdiction.

In the UEFA Champions League, for instance, accumulating two yellow cards in a stage of the tournament will lead to a 1 game suspension; players have often intentionally collected the second yellow card which will "strategically" reset their tally of yellow cards to zero for the next stage but this is considered unsporting conduct.

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