What Should Be Done About Red Cards?

NYCFCFan10

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The red card is a totally broken concept. Totally broken.

Watching DC United vs. Dallas right now. A Dallas man achieved the rare feat of two yellows -- 1 red -- in the first half. So DC United has now gotten two goals and lead it despite being the lesser team for sure.

The punishment this rule levies is far, far beyond the fouls committed. The red card needs to be fixed. DC United just scored again 3-1 now.

The game DESERVES to be played 11 on 11. I don't understand why they don't take a page from American sports and allow for one guy to be tossed but for another player to be brought on in his stead. There's a number of ways they can do this. They could have it where you can only replace a red carded man if you have a substitution still available.

Or they could have it where you get an automatic substitution if the person sent off is sent off for 2 yellow cards but keep the red card as a very, very rarely seen nuclear option kept for situations where its obvious one team deserves to be hugely punished -- like when a player commits a foul so heinous it seriously injures an opposing player.

You see some big games where some times some very, very hard fouls go without being yellow/red carded because you know they dare not ruin the game with a red card. The 2010 World Cup final comes to mind. I know they've been talking about fixing it but the remedies I've heard are far more dumb than they need be.

4-1 now. DC has scored 4 goals from the 49th minute to the 70th minute....
 

Falastur

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The red card is a totally broken concept. Totally broken.

I have to disagree. The red card rule is fine, though referees' opinions on what is a card-worthy offence have been slowly trending towards making football a non-contact sport in recent years, and this I also am not keen on.

Watching DC United vs. Dallas right now. A Dallas man achieved the rare feat of two yellows -- 1 red -- in the first half. So DC United has now gotten two goals and lead it despite being the lesser team for sure.

That's football. If it were a frequent thing for the worse team to constantly win then there would be a problem, but it doesn't happen like that. The fact that chance occurences can cause the weaker team to sneak a win is one of the reasons football is the greatest sport in the world. It's the sport which you can never predict with 100% confidence.

The punishment this rule levies is far, far beyond the fouls committed. The red card needs to be fixed. DC United just scored again 3-1 now.

The game DESERVES to be played 11 on 11. I don't understand why they don't take a page from American sports and allow for one guy to be tossed but for another player to be brought on in his stead. There's a number of ways they can do this. They could have it where you can only replace a red carded man if you have a substitution still available.

Or they could have it where you get an automatic substitution if the person sent off is sent off for 2 yellow cards but keep the red card as a very, very rarely seen nuclear option kept for situations where its obvious one team deserves to be hugely punished -- like when a player commits a foul so heinous it seriously injures an opposing player.

Admittedly referees make too much of some fouls, but the solution is for FIFA to encourage a more physical game, not to entirely remove red cards. Football does not "deserve" to be played 11 v 11. Yes, 99% of the time it should be 11 v 11, but there are absolutely times when it should not - such as when players are too aggressive, or commit blatant infringements of the rules.

The idea of allowing other players to come on in place of the red-carded player may very well work in American sports, and perhaps for the MLS it would have the desired effect because of the culture of sports you have over there. Everywhere else in the world, though, it would be a disaster. Sadly, football is not the gentlemen's game of 100 years ago, and it is now a very cynical game. Some teams already practice a very questionable policy of encouraging players to hack down opposition players with the intent not to seriously injure them but to either force the player off with a minor injury or at least make them scared to commit to actions where they can be tackled and injured. The red card "nuclear option" is important for giving the referee a discourse to threaten players with for if they are acting like punishment is an acceptable outcome. Allowing red-carded players to be subbed - even with the "only if you have subs left" option - will just encourage some desperate teams to throw on expendable players at the start of the game for one purpose - to injure their "target" player, and then be replaced by a player who will actually benefit their own team.

Or take for example the 2010 World Cup, where Luis Suarez deliberately hand-balled the ball on the line to prevent a goal, and his goalkeeper promptly saved the penalty, meaning the only punishment Uruguay suffered was losing a man - right at the very end, when it was too late to matter. You could tell from Suarez' reaction, both at the time and later on in interviews, that he doesn't just not regret his actions, he is actively proud of himself for doing it. He revels in the fact that he cheated his team to victory. Ghana were furious - livid, even - that he was able to get away with it, but that was a quirk of the system. However, removing the threat of having your team reduced to 10 men for a red would make this style of cheating rampant, because it virtually eliminates any penalty the guilty team may suffer.

Even in situations where the team is not going out with the stated intention to foul their way to victory, if you do get players being stretchered off with serious injuries - and things like leg breaks are hardly uncommon in football - then if you allow the red-carded player to be replaced with another then you're actually ending up with a situation where the fouled team suffers just as bad a turn of events as the opposition - both lose a player and have to bring on a sub to replace them. If the injured player happens to be the star of his team, and the red-carded player is just a workhorse player, then the fouled team will end up being worse off for the deal, and would rightly question which team is being punished more.

Sure, I'm not saying that cynical tactics or aggressive play will affect 100% of games if this happens, but still, the point is that the red card is supposed to be there to serve as a warning to players: if you try to break the rules, it's not just you who will suffer, your team will too. If you just make it a player punishment then you're actively encouraging a "OK, I'll take one for the team" mentality.

You see some big games where some times some very, very hard fouls go without being yellow/red carded because you know they dare not ruin the game with a red card. The 2010 World Cup final comes to mind. I know they've been talking about fixing it but the remedies I've heard are far more dumb than they need be.

I think I must have misread this part as it doesn't seem to be in keeping with the rest of your argument. You're arguing that red cards should be taken out of the game, or at least have their punishment changed to an enforced substitution. It would be my impression that you would/should actively encourage games where the referee does not want to flash the red, or even the yellow, as it keeps the game squarely at 11 players apiece. However, your comment here seems to criticise particularly the 2010 World Cup final, where admittedly Nigel de Jong was incredibly lucky not to see red for what was, let's face it, a kung fu kick. Surely you should be praising that game for being a good example of the referee keeping the teams level? I don't quite understand your point in this paragraph.

Incidentally, you might be interested in the - admittedly very contentious, and broadly (but by no means unanimously) unpopular - proposals in Europe to replace the permanent sending-off of a red card with a rugby-inspired (but also ice hockey-like) "sin bin" idea, where players are sent off only for 5-10 minute stretches. They've been rejected every time they've been raised, but the idea does keep coming back:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/25718565
 
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NYCFCFan10

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I think I must have misread this part as it doesn't seem to be in keeping with the rest of your argument. You're arguing that red cards should be taken out of the game, or at least have their punishment changed to an enforced substitution. It would be my impression that you would/should actively encourage games where the referee does not want to flash the red, or even the yellow, as it keeps the game squarely at 11 players apiece. However, your comment here seems to criticise particularly the 2010 World Cup final, where admittedly Nigel de Jong was incredibly lucky not to see red for what was, let's face it, a kung fu kick. Surely you should be praising that game for being a good example of the referee keeping the teams level? I don't quite understand your point in this paragraph.

Incidentally, you might be interested in the - admittedly very contentious, and broadly (but by no means unanimously) unpopular - proposals in Europe to replace the permanent sending-off of a red card with a rugby-inspired (but also ice hockey-like) "sin bin" idea, where players are sent off only for 5-10 minute stretches. They've been rejected every time they've been raised, but the idea does keep coming back:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/25718565
The flying kung fu kick that did connect quite violently was dangerous enough to be worth a red card though. That's my problem. The ref should have tossed him out of the game but since the only way to throw the player out of the game would surely ruin the biggest game of the biggest tournament, it really wasn't an option. And that's why it didn't happen and that's why it's a broken concept.

The sin bin would definitely be a step in the right direction but I'm not a fan of a team playing a man down -- ever. Besides, what happens if a player needs to be ejected? Still the same problem remains.
 

Vito

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In the Chelsea/Swansea game 2 weeks ago a player was sent off for Swansea in the 15th minute. It completely ruined the game.
 

einwindir

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In the Chelsea/Swansea game 2 weeks ago a player was sent off for Swansea in the 15th minute. It completely ruined the game.
Total bullshit call. It was Chico De Flores. Don't remember who on Chelsea the penalties were "against" but one was an iffy yellow and the other was a flagrant dive.

Chelsea played a dirty game and won. They still struggled even though Swansea was a man down.
 
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Vito

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Total bullshit call. It was Chico De Flores. Don't remember who on Chelsea the penalties were "against" but one was an iffy yellow and the other was a flagrant dive.

Chelsea played a dirty game and won. They still struggled even though Swansea was a man down.

Howard Webb is usually pretty good, but it seemed like John Terry talked him into that second yellow. Definitely changed the whole dynamic of the game and it was sad to see. Swansea could've really pushed Chelsea with a full 11 v 11 match but it was ruined by a silly call
 

einwindir

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Howard Webb is usually pretty good, but it seemed like John Terry talked him into that second yellow. Definitely changed the whole dynamic of the game and it was sad to see. Swansea could've really pushed Chelsea with a full 11 v 11 match but it was ruined by a silly call
It just really bugged me. Swansea have had a great season so far. To see a team like Chelsea act so petty was really disappointing. Had Chico not been ousted they would've had a chance.
 
A red is a red is a red, even if it's two yellows. You cannot have different regulations for cards in different leagues. The rule is what it is, and is upto IFAB to change.

One can argue all day long as to whether games are ruined, or decisions made were correct or otherwise, but. as said, it is what it is.
 

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The debate is what the rule should be, not what it actually is currently. Hence, they can discuss options where rules are different than how they currently are. Nobody thinks there is going to be an imminent change in red card policy, but it is interesting to brainstorm alternatives.

I, for one, am not completely sold on any argument, but think a penalty/sin-bin option instead of being out of the entire game seems reasonable. Instead of Yellow/Red you could have 10 minute minor, 20 minute major, or game misconduct. As a hockey fan, I like this concept overall, but as someone mentioned about it may not be popular in Europe. You could also have the minor penalty end when a goal is scored, so the max penalty for a minor is 1 goal against before you get back to even strength.
 
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The debate is what the rule should be, not what it actually is currently. Hence, they can discuss options where rules are different than how they currently are. Nobody thinks there is going to be an imminent change in red card policy, but it is interesting to brainstorm alternatives.

I, for one, am not completely sold on any argument, but think a penalty/sin-bin option instead of being out of the entire game seems reasonable. Instead of Yellow/Red you could have 10 minute minor, 20 minute major, or game misconduct. As a hockey fan, I like this concept overall, but as someone mentioned about it may not be popular in Europe. You could also have the minor penalty end when a goal is scored, so the max penalty for a minor is 1 goal against before you get back to even strength.

What works in one sport won't necessarily work in another, for example, hockey allows fighting, but okay ...

What would constitute 10 minutes in a sin-bin? What would be the difference between that and 20 minutes in the sin-bin? Already you have created two types of 'Yellow Cards' there, which doesn't exist at the present time. What would be a professional foul (which in essence is a deliberate foul to stop the opposition - there's nothing "professional" about it)? Accidental or deliberate handball? Would Yellow Cards still exist, or are you thinking that a Yellow would become a sin-bin punishment, but still keep the Red?

Two Yellows constitutes a one-match ban, whereas a straight Red is a three-match ban. Of course, these can, on occasion, be looked at and the 3-match ban can be extended, or even recalled.
 

BossNYC

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The debate is what the rule should be, not what it actually is currently. Hence, they can discuss options where rules are different than how they currently are. Nobody thinks there is going to be an imminent change in red card policy, but it is interesting to brainstorm alternatives.

I, for one, am not completely sold on any argument, but think a penalty/sin-bin option instead of being out of the entire game seems reasonable. Instead of Yellow/Red you could have 10 minute minor, 20 minute major, or game misconduct. As a hockey fan, I like this concept overall, but as someone mentioned about it may not be popular in Europe. You could also have the minor penalty end when a goal is scored, so the max penalty for a minor is 1 goal against before you get back to even strength.
That seems pretty complicated. Soccer's simplicity is its strength.

I think the best solution is to keep the rule relativity unchanged with the exception that if you have a sub. available, you can get back to full strength by burning it.
 

einwindir

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If changing the red card is so unpopular then there should be minor changes to 2 things that would certainly change bullshit reds.

1. There should be stiffer penalties for diving.

2. Players (esp. Opponents) cannot under any circumstance approach a referee after a whistle is blown -- It's pathetic how a bunch of grown men run to a ref with their arms out whining that the bad man needs to be punished.
 

Falastur

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Soccer's simplicity is its strength.

Clearly you have never tried explaining the offside rule to someone ;)

I think the best solution is to keep the rule relativity unchanged with the exception that if you have a sub. available, you can get back to full strength by burning it.

I still just can't agree with this. If you allow the guilty team to just replace the red-carded team with a sub, where is the punishment? What is to stop players from being encouraged to foul deliberately, knowing another player will just take their place? Granted, there will always be red cards which shouldn't have been given, which needlessly punish the player and the team. But there will also always be red cards which should be given, every day of the week. I don't think you can make the rules more lax to prevent the situation where teams are unjustly penalised without destroying the principle of just punishment.

If changing the red card is so unpopular then there should be minor changes to 2 things that would certainly change bullshit reds.

1. There should be stiffer penalties for diving.

2. Players (esp. Opponents) cannot under any circumstance approach a referee after a whistle is blown -- It's pathetic how a bunch of grown men run to a ref with their arms out whining that the bad man needs to be punished.

I agree. However, the problem is there is already a rule for point 2, but referees simply can't enforce it. The rules technically say that only the team captain can approach the ref, and any other players who do so can be booked for dissent.

There definitely should be harsher penalties for diving, though.

Personally, my viewpoint is just that we need to push refereeing back to how it was in the 80s and 90s - football should be a tough, physical game, which itself would eliminate the diving and so on as players would realise that they won't get any benefits for falling over unless the foul is really over-strong. It would also reduce the number of red cards while allowing football to get back to the contact sport it always used to be, still without allowing the game to actually get violent. It's only in the last 10-20 years that people have started complaining about refereeing standards. Heck, some retired refs talk about how football was a generation ago, where in the middle of games they could run up to various players and make jokes about how the game was going and everyone was all on a level.
 
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MyBoyVilla

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What works in one sport won't necessarily work in another, for example, hockey allows fighting, but okay ...

What would constitute 10 minutes in a sin-bin? What would be the difference between that and 20 minutes in the sin-bin? Already you have created two types of 'Yellow Cards' there, which doesn't exist at the present time. What would be a professional foul (which in essence is a deliberate foul to stop the opposition - there's nothing "professional" about it)? Accidental or deliberate handball? Would Yellow Cards still exist, or are you thinking that a Yellow would become a sin-bin punishment, but still keep the Red?

Two Yellows constitutes a one-match ban, whereas a straight Red is a three-match ban. Of course, these can, on occasion, be looked at and the 3-match ban can be extended, or even recalled.
Not sure, all good questions. I just like the concept.

Except your point about fighting, not sure what you are getting at. I am suggesting a rule used in hockey could work in soccer, not saying soccer should be played on ice with sticks and fighting.
 

BossNYC

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I still just can't agree with this. If you allow the guilty team to just replace the red-carded team with a sub, where is the punishment? What is to stop players from being encouraged to foul deliberately, knowing another player will just take their place?
This is how America handles it in 3 sports -- and those sports have unlimited substitutions. There is no blood in the streets.

The punishment is that your starting player is gone. Which in theory means the guy coming on isn't as good. Also, you'll have to burn a substitution on someone you didn't want to use it on, perhaps.

The whole team doesn't need to be held hostage for one bad judgment on one player's part.
 
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Falastur

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I don't doubt. But football - especially outside of the USA - is not like American sports. As I said before, maybe in America it could work because of your sports culture, but if you tried it in the rest of the world, what you're going to get is teams acting like they have a licence to abuse the rules to hurt the other team. Football is becoming a very cynical game in some aspects. It needs to be made tougher, IMO, not more lenient.
 

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The whining in the refs face is a huge turn off for me too. I think its another culture aspect. In American sports, you attempt to show up the official and you're tossed. Guess what? Nobody complains to the refs.
 

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In American sports, the refs generally explain their call to the coach/players/team/crowd either during or after the fact. Soccer refs are basically completely unaccountable for their calls and no explanation is required of them (see USA World Cup 2010). Hence, it makes sense for the players to have to hound the ref during controversial calls.