What Is a Yellow Card in Soccer? What Does It Mean? How Do Players Get One?

By Luís Miguel
Updated on

A yellow card in soccer, or a booking, is a communication of caution by the referee to a player or team official. It’s a public and official disciplinary action for misconduct or misbehavior. This punishment is more severe than a verbal warning but not as grave as a red card.

What Is Yellow Card in Soccer (Association Football)?

In soccer, a yellow card is what the referee shows a player (on or off the field of play) or a team official whenever they commit minor offenses.

Also termed booking, showing a yellow card is the public communication of the punishment for infringing the rules of Association Football.

It’s a form of disciplinary action for fouls and misconduct as described in Law 12 of the IFAB’s (International Football Association Board) Laws of the Game.

The yellow card generally comes after a verbal warning; it is less severe than a red card.

Only players, substitute players, substituted players, or team officials can receive a yellow card.

Whoever gets two yellow cards in the same game will see a red card and get banned from the soccer match.

What Does a Yellow Card in Soccer Mean?

A yellow card in soccer means that an element of the game (a player, coach, or staff member) has publicly received a caution or warning for breaking the rules during a match.

It signals to everyone in the game and those watching that there has been a minor infraction. The administration of the yellow card is their punishment.

This type of admonishment is critical to the game itself.

The first yellow card shown means that there has been a warning and a punishment. It also signifies that whoever receives it has a second chance to stay in the game.

A double yellow card (two yellow cards during one match) means that there has been a second offense to the rules.

If a player or staff member sees two yellow cards, they will also get a red card. That person has to leave the field of play or the bench immediately.

The 3-by-4-inches (7.62 x 10.16 cm) yellow card is also relevant beyond the current game.

In a tournament, cup, or league, accumulating yellow cards over several matches will get a player suspended for one or more games.

The number of cards one can accumulate before getting suspended and the number of games suspended depends on the rules of each competition.

Guy wearing an SL Benfica jersey holding soccer ball over his head

Article by:

Luís Miguel

As a true soccer enthusiast, I’m Soccermodo’s team captain. My job is to make sure the site’s content is top-notch so that you, our reader, can focus solely on improving your game and reach new heights.