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Question Number: 32282

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/5/2018

RE: none Under 11

justin of palmdale, california united states asks...

How many red cards can a team get?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Justin
A team can get a maximum of 4 red cards with the game continuing. The 5th red card to issue results in the game bring abandoned. So once a team gets below 7 players for whatever reason the game is abandoned and the matter reported to the League.
As Referee Grove points out the referee could issue any number of red cards after the game is abandoned for serious misconduct which can include subs and substituted players. So there is no technical limit which could include every player and substitutes getting cards. The limit for the game continuing is, as I said, 4 with game over at the 5th card

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Justin,
Normally, if the players are getting carded one by one as the game progresses, the game would have to be abandoned after five players from one team have been sent off and the team no longer had the minimum of 7 players required for the game to continue, so the cards would stop there.

However, if there is a mass confrontation, the referee can technically continue to issue cards until finally leaving the field after abandoning the game so I suppose there is no theoretical limit to the number of red cards a team could get - it would depend on how many players and substitutes they have.

There was a game recently in Brazil where the referee ended up giving a total of 10 red cards and eight yellows (with several of the cards being issued to substitutes) before the game was eventually abandoned.

I should point out that in cases of mass confrontation leading to abandonment, it is often the case that the referee will not continue to issue cards, especially if things are getting too dangerous to do so, but must still report any cases of misconduct that occur, some of which might otherwise have been 'red card offences', even though no card was actually shown.

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