Misconduct (association football)

Misconduct (Association Football)

Misconduct (association football)

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Misconduct in association football is any conduct by a player that is deemed by the referee to warrant a disciplinary sanction (caution or dismissal) in accordance with Law 12 of the Laws of the Game. Misconduct may occur at any time, including when the ball is out of play, during half-time and before and after the game, and both players and substitute may be sanctioned for misconduct. This is unlike a foul, which may only be committed by a player, and only against an opponent when the ball is in play.

Misconduct may result in the player either receiving a caution (indicated by a yellow card) or being dismissed from the field (indicated by a red card). When a player is cautioned, the player's details are traditionally recorded by the referee in a small notebook; hence, a caution is also known as a booking. The referee has considerable discretion in applying the Laws; in particular, the offence of "unsporting behaviour" may be used to deal with most events that violate the spirit of the game, even if they are not listed as specific offences.

The system of cautioning and dismissal has existed for many decades, but the idea of language-neutral coloured cards originated with British referee Ken Aston, who got the idea while sitting in his car at a traffic light. The first major use of the cards was in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, but they were not made mandatory at all levels until 1982.


During a match

A player who has been cautioned...
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