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The referee has the responsibility to enforce the Laws of the Game from the moment he appears at the field before the game, until he leaves the area surrounding the field after the game. The referee can send off a player or team official for violating a number of provisions of Law 12. During the game, the referee is obligated to show the red card to a player/team official that is being sent off. The referee should but does not have to show the red card to a player/ream official for a send off offence before or after the game.

Below the term 'red card' refers to the send off of a player or the expulsion of an adult and an actual red card may not have been shown. 

What Happens When Someone Gets A Red Card?

  • The Playing League may require the referee to confiscate the player pass. This was common in the past (2010) but is less common now (2018).
  • The referee completes a Send-Off Report (an explanation of what happened and why the red card was given) .
  • The Playing League Disciplinary Committee/Chair determines the appropriate penalty or suspension.

How Are Suspensions and Penalties Determined?

The suspension and other penalties will be determined by the League Disciplinary Committee/Chair. Typically there are guidelines, historical data, and common sense.

Suspension Served - Red Card Sign Off Form

Each Playing League has their own procedure for verifying suspensions and reinstating passes. Some may use a served suspension form.  Most use the league management software by striking out the name of a suspended participant on the match card.

Suspended players should not be in the team uniform, but may be in the bench area. 

Coach or Team Official Expulsion

The procedure is the same, although the consequences are often harsher. Coaches, assistant coaches, trainers, and managers are typically expelled for irresponsible behavior.  Starting in 2020, the LoTG included detailed examples of team staff behavior that should be sanctioned.  

Each District, Registration League and Club can establish what "Suspended" means.

Whether a Coach or TeamStaff suspended while representing Team A, can continue to associate with Team B is determined by the Playing League or Client.

Can A Spectator Get A Red Card?

Only individuals with passes (players and team staff) can get a red card (player) or expulsion (credentialed adult).
If a spectator (child or adult) is not controlled by the team staff, the referee may either (1) abandon the game, or (2) issue a 'warning' or 'expulsion' to a team official.
It is the team officials' responsibility to control spectators.

Original from
Edited 12/15/17
Updated 11/29/20
Updated 3/18/21