If you’ve been watching the World Cup for the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably either noticed, or heard about, the more than usual occurrence of yellow and red cards. For those of you not used to the game, yellow cards are the referee’s way of cautioning a player they think did something dangerous or otherwise unsportsmanlike during the run of play. If you get two of them in a game the red card comes out. The red card is immediate ejection from the game, and unlike most other team sports, the coach can’t replace the player and so they play with 10 men for the rest of the game. Red cards can be shown by the ref for a very serious dangerous play before a first yellow card, but it’s up to the ref.
Anyway, we’ve seen some pretty silly excuses for bringing out the yellow this tournament, like dissent (players don’t like all the calls, it’s just a fact), wasting time, and even taking a penalty kick before the ref was set and ready to go.
I’ll agree that these slight offenses need to be dealt with, but it’s the other rule of the Cup that if a player collects two yellows over a three game period he is suspended for the immediate next game. When you get upwards of 6 to 10 yellow cards occurring in some games, as we have been getting, you can imagine that a lot of quality players end up suspended.
Mike Adamson, of the Guardian in England, speaks to this and offers an alternative for FIFA. The real gem is in the countless comments following the post, where numerous fans of the game offer their ideas to solve this problem.