7 Cautionable Offenses

There are 7 cautionable offenses and 7 send-off offenses in soccer. Do you know them all? “7+7″ is authored by Paul Tamberino, Director of Referee Development, and Alfred Kleinaitis, Manager of Referee Development and Education.

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card for committing any of the following seven offenses:

(actions of special concern to FIFA are displayed in bold print)

1. is guilty of unsporting behavior (UB)

(The following actions are examples only and are not a complete list.)
a. Commits a direct free kick foul in a reckless manner (for example, charging, pushing, tripping)
b. Commits a direct free kick foul in a reckless manner while tackling for the ball from any direction
c. Commits a tactical foul designed to interfere with or impede an opposing team’s attacking play (e.g., pushing an opponent, blatantly holding an opponent or an opponent’s uniform, handling the ball deliberately)
d. Handles the ball deliberately to score a goal
e. Commits an act which, in the opinion of the referee, shows a lack of respect for the game (e.g., aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, or taunting)
f. Fakes an injury or exaggerates the seriousness of an injury
g. Fakes a foul (dives) or exaggerates the severity of a foul
h. Interferes with or prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands into play
i. Verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart
j. Unfairly distracts or impedes an opponent performing a throw-in
k. Changes jerseys with the goalkeeper during play or without the referee’s permission (both players must be cautioned)
l. Engages in trickery to circumvent the goalkeeper’s limitation on handling the ball played from a teammate’s foot (the defender who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned, the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart)
m. Makes unauthorized marks on the field
n. Removes the jersey or covers the face with a mask or similar device after scoring a goal
o. Uses an artificial aid to unfairly assist play (for example, leaning on the shoulders of a teammate, using an article of clothing to avoid direct contact with the ball, moving or removing a corner flag on a corner kick, hanging on a crossbar)
p. Uses tobacco or tobacco products in any form in the area of the field
q. At a penalty kick, feints to kick the ball once the run-up to the ball has been completed

2. shows dissent by word or action (DT)

a. Verbally or through action disputes or shows contempt for an official’s decision
b. If playing as a goalkeeper, leaves the penalty area (not beckoned by the referee) to engage an official in debate regarding a decision

3. persistently infringes the Laws of the Game (PI)

a. Repeatedly fouls or participates in a pattern of fouls directed at an opponent
b. Violates Law 14 again, having previously been warned
c. If playing as goalkeeper, wastes time, having previously been warned or penalized for this behavior

4. delays the restart of play (DR)

a. Kicks or throws the ball away or holds the ball to prevent a free kick restart by an opponent
b. Kicks or throws the ball away or holds the ball to prevent a throw-in or corner kick by an opponent
c. Fails to restart play after being instructed to do so by the referee or hinders the restart of play
d. Excessively celebrates a goal
e. Fails to return to the field upon conclusion of the midgame break, fails to perform a kick-off when signaled to do so by the referee, or fails to be in a correct position for a kick-off
f. Provokes a confrontation by deliberately touching the ball after the referee has stopped play

5. fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in (FRD)

a. Does not retire at least ten yards away from an opponent’s free kick
b. Does not retire at least ten yards away from an opponent’s corner kick
c. Does not retire at least two yards away from an opponent’s throw-in

6. enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee’s permission (E)

a. After having previously been instructed to leave the field to correct equipment
b. After having previously been given permission by the referee to leave the field due to an injury
c. After having previously been instructed to leave the field due to bleeding or blood on the uniform

7. deliberately leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission (L)

a. To place an opponent in an apparent offside position
b. Other than through the normal course of play

Substitutes

A substitute or substituted player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following three offenses:

  1. is guilty of unsporting behavior
  2. shows dissent by word or action
  3. delays the restart of play

If a substitute who enters the field of play without the permission of the referee is to be cautioned, the official reason given must be “unsporting behavior” – this applies as well to previously substituted players except where the rules of competition allow unlimited re-entry with the permission of the referee.