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Why Do You Get A Red Card In Soccer? 10 Main Reasons

Why Do You Get A Red Card In Soccer? 10 Main Reasons

Can you imagine a soccer game where after a player got a yellow card, yelled at the referee? Not only that, the player chased down a member of the other team, headbutted him, and then ran around the field in triumph.

This was Marouane Fellaini in 2017. He got a red card for this hilarious performance. Another familiar example is Zinedine Zidane’s famous headbutt incident in the 2006 World Cup final that got him a red card and an extended suspension from the game.

In soccer, red cards are used to penalize players for extensive wrongdoings and unpleasant behavior. And getting a red card in soccer signifies that the receiver must leave the soccer field immediately.

This implies that the infraction committed by the guilty person is so considerable that the referee can no longer tolerate their presence on the field. They also can not come back for the rest of the game and the next contest.

In other words, this means a red card is the most severe punishment that a referee can issue during a game. Nevertheless, in this article, the reasons why players get red cards during soccer games and examples of each instance will be discussed below.

The referee is giving a red card

Why Do You Get A Red Card In Soccer?

There are several reasons why a soccer player can get a red card during a soccer game. Those reasons are contained in Article 12 of the FIFA laws.

The reasons are classified into two:

  • By committing an offense.
  • By earning two yellow cards. 

When a party in an ongoing game violates one of the soccer rules, the referee pauses by blowing their whistle. Then the player gets shown the red card to see their punishment regarding the offense.

Or, if a person gets issued two yellow cards, which are warnings in a single game, that amounts to an automatic red card. In other words, get two yellow cards, and the referee will show up with a red card as a direct consequence of receiving two yellow cards in one event.

Generally, red cards may be delivered during, before, or after a match while the administrators are on the field. Below is an extensive list of infractions that will earn players a red card, thus ending their participation in the game if committed by a player.

Serious Foul Play 

Let us grab a minute to examine what “serious foul play” implies, as this can mean several things to various people.

According to the FIFA laws of soccer, serious foul play is: “A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality….”

The protection of a player is of utmost significance when creating laws for soccer. Because of this, any participant that endangers or seriously injures another player will get issued a red card—requiring such player to be promptly removed from the field.

An example of this is when Fabian Delphs severely tackled Max Powers in 2018, earning himself a red card from Anthony Taylor, the officiating referee at the time.

Moreover, the rules of soccer are also against lunging. This is when someone glides towards another player with their leg raised hostilely, with the studs toward the opponent.

Any competitor who lunges at another player from the front, side, or behind using “excessive force” or stakes the safety of their opposition is guilty of serious foul play and must collect a red card.

“Excessive force” in this instance is simply applying more pressure than is necessary. For example, tackling a player with an obvious intent to injure them.

A Serious Foul situation

Biting or Spitting At Another Person

There is zero room in soccer for petty acts like biting and spitting. Doing any of those things during a game would get you an instant red card.

One case of this was in 2014 when Luiz Suarez got suspended for four months from all soccer-related activity and was prohibited from nine competitive international tournaments after acquiring a red card during a soccer match between Italy and Uruguay during the World Cup.

The motivation behind the duration of the ban was the gravity of the crime. Luiz Suarez has bitten another player during the game.

Another example was when Goran Popov spat at Tottenham’s Kyle Walker during his side’s 1-0 defeat at The Hawthorns. Goran Popov was punished with a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg early in the second half.

Luis Suarez All 3 Bites ~ Luis Suarez Bites Players Compilation

Violent Conduct 

In soccer, you are not authorized to shove, pull, kick, hit, or charge any of the other players. The direct consequence of such activity during or after the game is rapidly removing the rule violators, with a red card.

There is no unnecessary and violent force usage when questioning a player, viewer, or other players. This applies to inside and outside the field and any player on the pitch and on the bench. The referee will only allow the game to proceed if there is an opening for a goal to be scored.

For instance, on January 25, 1995, Eric Cantona kung-fu kicked a supporter. As a result of that awful kick off the field, Eric Cantona managed to surpass any of his most gorgeous kicks on the field.

During a 1-1 tie at Crystal Palace, Eric Cantona, the Manchester United forward, lost restraint. He crossed the line in every way, throwing himself, feet first, at a Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons. That act of violent misconduct got him a straight red card.

Cantona Crazy Moments - Bad Boy - The KING (Rguilan)

Offensive or Abusive Language/Gestures

Players are also barred from using profanity or nasty lingo towards their competitors, onlookers, officials, or other members of the internal personnel. Verbal abuse during a game will get you as a soccer player an automatic red card and ejection from the game. 

An instance is El Hadji Diouf who got handed a red card when, after performing a gorgeous penalty for Leeds against Brighton in April 2013, he ran toward the Seagulls devotees and executed an improper motion involving his hand and groin.

Diouf was shortly evicted from the game, which put Leads down to nine men and led to their 2-1 loss. “I can’t understand him, and maybe he can’t understand himself,” said manager Brian McDermott after the event.

In modern soccer, referees are striving to improve the sport of soccer as much as possible, particularly when it comes to anything that could hurt the feelings of the younger soccer lovers.

As you know, soccer is volatile, and referees often have to let things slide. However, they do not need to ignore obvious foul language or movements. In the past, players did not receive red cards for verbal abuse as often as they do now, but it is an excellent way to begin terminating it before it gets out of hand.

Handball Offense 

If you intentionally use your hands on the ball to prevent a goal, you will get a red card in soccer.

There are two methods to use this illegal tactic.

The first is when an attacking participant crosses the ball to a teammate for a simple goal. Visualize the ball in the air getting to the attacking player for an easy goal, but then the defending player interrupts the ball with their hand.

This kind of behavior will earn that person a red card because they stopped a goal (or an apparent goal-scoring opportunity).

The second happens when the ball goes for an unmistakable and obvious goal, but a player purposely manipulates the ball to halt the goal. An instance is Luis Suarez’s intentional handball in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final is a high-profile illustration.

Generally, the closer to the goal that the player commits the offense, the more likely a red card will be given. Most significantly, the ball would have gone into the net if it were not for the handball.

Another instance occurred on August 28, 2021, when Reece James was handed a straight red card for thwarting Mane’s goal (a Liverpool player) with his hand. As a consequence of the infraction, a penalty kick was granted to Liverpool.

Because of his misdemeanor, Reece James had to forfeit the next three matches, according to the rules of the EPL.

Receiving Two Yellow Cards In One Game

FIFA rules state that if a soccer participant gets two yellow cards during a single game, it will automatically lead to a red card. In 2016, Ashley Cole fell victim to this law. He got two yellow cards in 15 seconds, which earned him a red card in quick succession.

Intentionally Fouling An Opponent To Prevent Them From Scoring A Goal

The final guarding player between the goal and the ball handler must not foul or deal with the ball in a conscious operation to interrupt a probable goal-scoring venture. 

The result of this behavior is an instant red card.

If you knowingly execute a foul (like a push or trip) when someone has a promising chance of scoring a goal, you will get a red card in soccer. In addition, a penalty kick will be granted to the victim if the foul is within the penalty area.

Craziest Red Cards in Football 2021/22

Shaming Or Baiting A Rival 

It is offensive for a player to terrorize, insult, bait or provoke other game participants. That sort of attitude will get you a red card.

Irresponsible And Dangerous Game Tricks

At no moment and for no justification should any player put another player in a hazardous situation.

This includes reckless or risky moves for the ball. Therefore, the security of the participants is the most crucial component of all the laws and policies.

Reckless, as defined by FIFA, indicates that the player has behaved with thorough indifference to the risk to his opponent. And any person who does not think of the consequences against the opponent will be cautioned with a red card.

Restricted game tricks include:

  • Bicycle Kicks with players in the area. 
  • High Kicks with players close by. 
  • Sliding and touching a player. 
  • Attacking and tackling a player. 
  • Shoving a player. 

Any of these activities are seen as harmful by the officials.

Object or Ball Thrown

If a player flings an item on the pitch or bench forcefully, the player will get a red card. In addition, they will be expelled from the building by the administrator and be suspended for at least one game.

Competitors that decline the ejection and refuse to leave the area or the building will make their squad lose the match.


Generally, in soccer, after receiving a red card, the offending player gets ejected from the current game and possible suspensions from subsequent games. However, rules between tournaments, but suspensions always follow red cards.

As a common principle, one red card earns a player an automatic suspension of one to three games. Although the harshness of the sentence depends on the type of crime committed.

Generally, if a player acquires two yellow cards (one red card), that person will be restrained from playing in the next game in the same tournament.

So if, for instance, a participant earns a red card in the Premier League, but their next match is in the Champions League, their prohibition will only pertain to the Premier League.

However, racism-connected occurrences result in an embargo longer than three games, and the consequence of spitting is an automatic six-match ban.