Have you ever wonder how suspensions work in England and why some players are in starting eleven even they received a red card in the previous match? We will do our best to explain to you all the details regarding yellow and red cards.
Red card suspension
A second yellow card of the game means a one-match ban, and a direct red card usually carries three games suspension (see table below). Red cards are counted across all competitions. So if some player receives a red card in FA Cup he won’t be able to play the next league game. For EFL Leagues and National League, the accumulation of red cards gives you one extra game suspension for every previous red card of the season. That means that a player who got a direct red card and has already been expelled in this season will be suspended for 3+1 games.
Interesting, every club can appeal against referee’s decision to show their player direct red card (yellow cards are not subject to appeal) and occasionally the FA (Football Association) by using video assistant referee overturn the sending off or at least reduce the sentence. If you wonder why all clubs using that privilege very carefully, that’s because the FA sometimes concludes that the appeal is unfounded and three games suspension quickly becomes four (or more) games suspension.
The FA Independent Regulatory Commission is very rigorous so it is not a rarity that some player, coach or club being severely punished for violations of regulations.
Player sent off for
|Receiving a second caution|
|Denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity|
|Using offensive or insulting or abusive language/gestures|
|Violent conduct or serious foul play|
Accumulation of yellow cards
The rule in some countries with fewer teams in the leagues is that the accumulation of three or four yellow cards bears a one-match ban.
For all English leagues (not counting the cups), that number is five and it has to be gathered before game week 19 (different competitions have different cut-off dates, see the table below), and if some player gathers ten yellow cards before game week 32 or fifteen yellow cards before game week 38 he will receive two or three games suspension respectively.
Also, yellow cards are limited for every competition which means that yellow cards from cup competitions will not affect league competitions and vice versa. It is also interesting that in the past that wasn’t the case so, allegedly, some teams used cup competitions to wipe out yellow cards. For example, if some important player has four yellow cards he would intentionally collect one more on the last league game just before cup competition. That would mean that he is suspended only for the cup game, the game he would probably be rested anyway.
Every two yellow cards in FA Cup and League Cup bear one-match ban and cut off point for both competitions are Quarter-Finals.
The cut-off dates for receiving a sanction as a result of accumulating cautions are:
|Number of cautions||Cut off point (inclusive)||Suspension|
|5 (Premier League)||Following 19 League Fixtures||1 Match|
|5 (EFL Leagues)||Following 19 League Fixtures||1 Match|
|5 (National League)||Following 23 League Fixtures||1 Match|
|10 (Premier League)||Following 32 League Fixtures||2 Matches|
|10 (EFL Leagues,|
|Following 37 League Fixtures||2 Matches|
|15 (Premier League, National League)||Last day of the same playing season||3 Matches|
|15 (EFL Leagues)||Last day of the relevant league playing season prior to the Play-Off matches||3 Matches|
|20 (Premier League, National League)||Last day of the same playing season||As determined by a Regulatory Commission|
|20 (EFL Leagues)||Last day of the relevant league playing season prior to the Play-Off matches||As determined by a Regulatory Commission|
Note: EFL Leagues are Championship, League One and League Two
All-time stats: Position, Player Name, Current Club, Number of Yellow cards
|2||Wayne Rooney||D.C. United||102|
|3||Lee Bowyer||Birmingham City||99|
|5||Paul Scholes||Manchester U.||97|
|9||George Boateng||Hull City||85|
|9||Kevin Nolan||Notts County||85|
All-time stats: Position, Player Name, Current Club, Number of Red cards
|1||Patrick Vieira||Manchester C.||8|
|4||Alan Smith||Notts County||7|
|8||Luís Boa Morte||–||6|
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