Law 5.3 indicates that the referee has authority to take disciplinary action from entering the field of play for the pre-match inspection until leaving the field of play after the match (including kicks from the penalty mark). If, before entering the field of play at the start of the match, a player commits a sending-off offence, the referee has the authority to prevent the player taking part in the match (see Law 3.6); the referee will report any other misconduct.

Does this restrict the referee to discipline just red card offences? Can a referee issue a yellow card pre-match?

If yes, does the caution carry over to the match in terms of the first caution with a second equating to a red?

1 Answer 1


No. The referee's power to show yellow cards starts only when the players enter play, as noted in Law 5.3:

[The referee] has the power to show yellow or red cards [...] from entering the field of play at the start of the match until after the match has ended

As you correctly note, any cautionable offences committed before entering the field of play will be reported, and the governing body can sort it out.

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