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How Many Yellow Cards Can You Get in Soccer?

How Many Yellow Cards Can You Get in Soccer?

Sixty minutes into Atletico Madrid’s match against Athletic Bilbao on the 18th of September, 2021, they subbed in striker Joao Felix. Felix had been on the bench for the past five months due to an injury.

However, 18 minutes into his game, he received a yellow card that he considered unwarranted. While he was protesting the yellow card, he received another, getting sent off the pitch. Talk about a terrible stroke of luck in the space of 10 seconds.

Do you understand why Felix was sent off the pitch? Do you know why he received two cards in rapid succession? Did you even know that was possible?

Like the traffic light, the yellow card was designed to warn soccer players to take it easy. And in this article, we are going to enlighten on how many yellow cards you can get in soccer, alongside some noteworthy rules guiding it.

How Many Yellow Cards Can You Get in Soccer?

In all soccer games, a player can only get two yellow cards. However, the consequences of getting two yellow cards vary across different games.

Also, the reason a yellow card gets issued plays an integral part in determining the following consequence. Generally, yellow cards get issued for various actions against fellow players, some against the referee or other officials.

The referee is giving a yellow card to a certain player

According to the IFAB (International Football Association Board) Laws of the Game, fouls against other players can be reckless, careless, or excessive force.

  • Careless foul:

Generally when a player showcases a lack of consideration, caution, or discipline when making a challenge.

  • Reckless foul: 

Occurs when a player disregards the possible danger to an opponent.

  • Excessive force: 

Happens when a player exceeds the required force, endangering an opponent’s safety.

Some yellow card worthy offenses against fellow players include:

  1. Heavy tackles or dangerous play that could result in injury
  2. Denying an opponent’s clear goal-scoring opportunity by moving towards the player’s goal is an offense punishable by a penalty or free-kick.
  3. Use of offensive, insulting or abusive language
  4. Charging an opponent
  5. Shirt-tugging, blocking, and holding an opponent to stop a play
  6. Handling the ball – to score or break up an attack
  7. Deceiving the referee with a fake injury to penalize another player

What happens if you get 2 yellow cards in soccer?

When a referee raises a yellow card, he writes the player’s name and the team on the back of the card. This is for record purposes, to keep track of each player’s strike in case the player gets another strike, the referee won’t forget the initial one.

When a player receives his first yellow card, the playing style has to be careful not to commit any further foul, misconduct, or unsporting behavior. However, for instance, the player will be sent off after receiving a second yellow card during the match.

The yellow player fouled the opponent after an attempt to tackle

This means that the player must return to the dressing room or be out of the sight of the referee before the match can continue. In addition, the player will play the next match and depending on the total number of yellow cards accumulated and other factors, there might be other consequences.

For instance, after Felix’s automatic ban from Atletico’s next match for the two yellow cards he received, he received an additional one match ban because he threw the ball into the stands when he was sent off.

Nevertheless, certain leagues have special rules on the consequences of yellow cards. Some of them are:

Major League Soccer (MLS) of the United States

The league metes out fines and suspensions to players based on the number of yellow cards received in the season. For instance, on the 23rd of September, 2020, Union Captain Alejandro Bedoya earned a one match suspension.

This was in their match against Cincinnati FC where he received his 5th yellow card in the season after close contact with the opposition’s midfielder, Frankie Amaya.

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The MLS rules include: (2022)

  • Five yellow cards attract a $250 fine and a suspension from the next MLS Regular Season Match.
  • For eight yellow cards, the suspension holds while the fine increases to a $500
  • 11 yellow cards come with another $250 increase in the fine to total $750. The suspension remains a package deal.
  • 13 yellow cards attract a $1,000 fine alongside the suspension from the next MLS Regular Season Match.
  • Subsequently, every new two yellow cards will double the player’s previous fine in addition to the suspension.

FA Cup Of The United Kingdom

The FA cup attaches fines to each action that attracts a yellow card based on the severity of the action. These fines range from £10 to £55, with suspensions from no match to 6 matches.

Each act also attracts a penalty point. The weightiest of these actions is spitting, which attracts a £55 fine, suspension from 6 matches, and 7 penalty points.

There are also other types of soccer with different rules. Here’s an example:

  • Futsal: Futsal is a style of soccer that is played on a smaller field. It also involves smaller teams with five players on each side.

Although in Futsal, just like soccer, a player can only receive two yellow cards, the consequence is different.

After receiving two yellow cards, a player will receive an automatic red and be sent off the field. He will not be allowed to re-enter the match and will miss his next match.

However, after two minutes, the player’s team will be allowed to bring in a replacement. If the opposing team scores a goal before the two minute lapses, the defaulting team will be allowed to bring in their replacement immediately.

A foul situation in futsal

A player who has been sent off in Futsal must leave the field immediately as well as the vicinity of the match.

  • Beach Soccer: The only difference between Beach Soccer and Futsal is that just like the name implies, it is played on the smooth sand. Besides this, the game follows the same yellow card principles seen in Futsal.
  • Street Soccer: The yellow card rules are quite different in this game. To start with, when a player receives a yellow card, he is sent off the field for two minutes.

If he receives a second yellow card, the player will be sent off the field for the rest of the match. Also, the team will not be allowed to replace such a player. They will play one man short for the rest of the match.

A street soccer match is taking

How many yellow cards can you get before being ejected from a soccer match?

A player can only get two yellow cards in a match. Once a player is shown a second yellow card, it will be followed by a red card.

This card then sends the receiving player off the field, leaving the team to play without that one man for the rest of the match. However, this is a rare case in soccer as most players are usually cautious after receiving a “caution” yellow card.

For instance, it appears that Michail Antonio didn’t get the memo as the striker received a second yellow card in the Premier League’s 2021 season.

This was in Westham’s match against Southampton on the 11th of September, 2021. Antonio was sent off the field after he made a late tackle against Moussa Djenepo.


However, in street soccer, a player may be ejected from a match after a single yellow card. This ejection will only last for two minutes.

How many yellow cards equal a red card?

In the rules of soccer, two yellow cards equal a red card. So when a player receives two yellow cards in the same match, he’ll receive an automatic red card.

Just like with Felix, who has become our model character in this article. After he received two yellow cards in the same match, he got an automatic red and was sent off the field.

How many games do you miss for 2 yellow cards?

If you receive two yellow cards in the course of a league or tournament, you are not exempted from any game. However, if you receive two yellow cards in the same match, you will be sent off the field and miss the next game of that competition.

Player Deserve 2 Yellow Cards in 10 SECONDS!?

Is 2 yellow cards a 1 match ban?

Two yellow cards do not always equal a one-match ban. However, if the player receives both yellow cards in a single match, this will result in a one-match ban.

If the yellow cards are received in two different matches, the player does not miss the next game. This was the case in Chelsea’s match against Leicester on the 19th of January, 2021.

Kai Havertz received his second yellow card of the 2020 Premier League season in the 29th minute of the match. However, because it wasn’t his second yellow card in the same game, he wasn’t sent off and he didn’t get a next match ban.

In the EPL (English Premier League), when a player gets issued 5 yellow cards in 19 games, they automatically miss a game.

Can you get a straight red card after a yellow?

While yellow cards are issued for caution before issuing a red card, a straight red card shows that you have committed a serious offense in soccer.

After receiving a yellow card, if a player does any further “extreme” wrong act, they can receive a straight red card. 

The implication of receiving a straight red card depends on the level of offense. For a player who dissented, there will be a two-match ban.

For violent conduct and career-threatening moves, the player may be banned from playing in the next three to five matches, depending on the severity of the offense.

A soccer player in white gets a straight red card from the referee

Deliberate blocking of an opponent’s goal with the hand? For instance, on August 28, 2021, Reece James was issued a straight red card and sent off the pitch for blocking Liverpool’s Mane’s goal with his hand.

As a result of the offense, a penalty kick was awarded to Liverpool. Then, Chelsea got fined for the team’s misconduct after the decision was made by the officiating referee, Anthony Taylor.

Now, according to the rules of EPL, Reece James had to miss the next three matches in the league as a penalty for the red card issued to him.

Did Reece James deserve a red card in Chelsea' s draw with Liverpool? | ESPN FC


Generally, it isn’t a prevalent occurrence to find matches where a player receives more than a single yellow card per game. This is usually because the issuance of cards is left to the discretion of the referee.

The referee who is aware of the high tension in every game cannot rule every action as misconduct, mainly because of the game’s physical nature.

Considering these, most referees give oral warnings to players before issuing the first yellow card strike not to talk of the second strike.