If a football player A fouls player B in a manner such that they will receive a yellow card, but the referee plays the advantage rule, and subsequently player A fouls another player, can the referee give him two yellow cards, and hence a red card, one for each foul, or does player A get only the one yellow?

  • This scenario became a heavy talking point on Bournemouth's radio broadcast of the West Ham-Bournemouth opener to the Olympic Stadium today after only one was given in such a spot. One point alluded to was that the act of showing yellow is made for the purpose of warning the player to change his methods... so it would at least rightly be quite tough to give two yellows in one run. Considering none of the rules indicated in the answers below give direct answer to the situation, and the word caution itself adds to the uncertainty, an explicit clarification really would be appreciated from FIFA! Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 16:11
  • Followup: there was an IFAB statement in skysports.com/football/news/12019/9983843/… which is some level of official clarity at least. Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 17:28
  • Coincidentally, in the postgame interview with Eddie Howe (Bournemouth manager), he indicated discussion of the play with the referee, and the referee said "he couldn't give that". It definitely wasn't clear from the tone conveyed whether it was intended as an absolute belief it wasn't callable, or whether it was more based upon the situation\fairness (and that a second yellow can be more difficult to give\earn than the first). But perhaps referees aren't unanimous either (which would make sense given the limited ruling\information on it). More clarity please! Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


Yes. If both the offences deserve a yellow card each, the referee is obligated to show the player two yellows (and hence a red card). The referee must indicate that the first yellow is for the first offence and the subsequent yellow for the second offence.

After the second offence, the referee must stop play immediately unless there is a clear goal scoring opportunity. Advantage may not be played on sending-off offences unless a clear goal scoring opportunity is present.

See FIFA Laws of the Game 2015/16 page 73

  • "The only rider is that the referee cannot allow play to continue as advantage, if there is one, after the second offence, since the rules require the referee to stop play if he is to brandish a red card." This information is incorrect. Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 2:44
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    @studro Please check the link given above. FIFA Laws say the referee cannot allow play to continue for an advantage if he is to brandish a red card, unless there is a clear goal scoring opportunity. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 6:31

Yes it is possible and it happened in the Euro 2016 qualification play-off between Northern Ireland and Hungary in September 2015. A video of the incident is available.

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    Most notably, IFAB did release comment on it subsequently... skysports.com/football/news/12019/9983843/…. Would be good to add clearer wording in the rulebook itself rather than alluding to referee training! But at least there's now something with some official standing to set a precedence. Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 17:27

Yes, if the referee deems the offending player's actions as cautionable. A list of all cautionable offences can be found under IFAB Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, 3. Disciplinary Action.

The Law also explains about offences temporarily waived due to an advantage:

If the referee plays the advantage for an offence for which a caution / send off would have been issued had play been stopped, this caution / send off must be issued when the ball is next out of play, except when the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity results in a goal the player is cautioned for unsporting behaviour.

That means a player can receive 2 yellow cards if they commit a first cautionable offence and continue to deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (which ends the advantage).

That being said:

Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play, violent conduct or a second cautionable offence unless there is a clear opportunity to score a goal. The referee must send off the player when the ball is next out of play but if the player plays the ball or challenges/interferes with an opponent, the referee will stop play, send off the player and restart with an indirect free kick.

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