Several players will miss the Euro Cup semifinals because they have amassed 2 yellow cards in the first 5 matches.

What would happen if all 23 players had amassed 2 yellow cards? Would the semifinal be a walk over to the other team?

  • 1
    I tend to believe it wouldn't get that far. For 40ish cautions to be issued over 5 games, there would need to be on average 8 per match. Teams that receive a large number of cautions in a single match are sanctioned. After receiving 8 cautions in one game, the team would be fined or threatened with expulsion from the competition and they would be less likely to do it again. See article 52 on page 35: fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/… Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


Under the IFAB Law 3.1 - Number of players:

A match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players.

So only 17 players would need to amass 2 yellow cards in order to forfeit the next match. The team with fewer than 7 players would forfeit the match 3 goals in favour of the opposing team (source).

This is possible because all players on the field of play, including substitutes, can be disciplined under Law 12.3 - Disciplinary Action.

  • 1
    Can substitutes be given a yellow card, as opposed to a red one?
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 17:20
  • 3
    @PhilipKendall Yes, under Law 12.3 - Disciplinary Action. Only a player, substitute or substituted player may be shown the red or yellow card.
    – unbindall
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 19:54
  • 2
    Note that, according to Law 10.3, the referee does not abandon the match if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players during a penalty shoot-out.
    – user7728
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:34

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