In football, a yellow card can be given to a player when he/she is losing time on purpose.

Typically, a team wining the match will make changes on the last minutes to lose some extra time: the player will make sure to be far away from the bench, so that the distance to cover will be quite big. Also, he will walk all the way, making the other team feel very nervous for it.

For this, 30 seconds are summed to the extra time to be added to the end of the match. However, in many cases this change takes way more than this.

I was wondering: would it be possible for a player that is being replaced already having a yellow card to get another one for being so slow during the replacement? Would the replacement then be cancelled? Has it ever happened?

1 Answer 1


This is covered by Law 3: The Players: Substitution Procedure:

The substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play;from that moment, the substitute becomes a player and the replaced player becomes a substituted player.

If the player receives a second yellow card while he is leaving the field, he is still the "active" player and is sent off. Sent off players cannot be replaced, so the substitution cannot happen. A very similar situation happens in this video where the player leaving the field receives a second yellow card for removing his shirt.

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    I'd add that it may be worth pointing out that the caution there from the referee was technically incorrect. Players are supposed to only be cautioned for removing their shirt when celebrating a goal (see Law 12.3, under "Celebration of a Goal"). If the shirt is removed and it's not a celebration of a goal, the player is simply instructed to leave the field of play to correct it (see Law 4.5). Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 10:16
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    Here's another one that while still dubious, is at least technically correct (the referee would have been better just telling Seedorf that he was going to start adding every single second of time instead of a rough estimate {as is usually done} if he didn't hurry off). This one is notable, as the player receives both cautions during the substitution process. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 10:35
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    @studro in the second video I think the case is different: the referee wanted Seedorf to leave the pitch at the near touchline, but he did not. Refusing to do so granted him a first yellow card and then, while persisting on leaving from the other side, the second one. So (to me) it looks more like a disciplinary than a time-loosing decision.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 11:25
  • @fedorqui The reason the referee told him to leave on the opposite side to the bench was to save time (maybe ten seconds max). As I said, he was technically correct, but the referee had better methods of managing this situation. In the end, more time was lost than it would have been if he'd simply made the substitution on the bench side (as is usually done) and made a point of adding all of the time on. Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 5:30

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