Wednesday, 24 Jul 2024

Can Soccer Coaches Receive Yellow and Red Cards?

Red Card for Soccer Coach

Coaches and managers play a vital role in guiding and mentoring their players. Their behavior is often seen as an example for the team. But what happens when a soccer coach displays misconduct on the sideline? Can soccer coaches receive yellow and red cards? The answer is yes.

A Brief Overview of Yellow and Red Card Rules

In soccer, referees use yellow and red cards to penalize players for breaking the rules. Yellow cards are typically for less serious offenses. If a player receives two yellow cards in one game, they are sent off from the pitch, leaving their team with one less player.

On the other hand, a red card is shown for more severe fouls, resulting in immediate removal from the game. Referees follow specific instructions and protocols to determine whether an offense deserves a card.

Coaches and Managers Committing Fouls

Passionate about the sport, both players and coaches can have issues with certain situations on the field. Sometimes, they complain to the referee or display frustration on the sideline. In the past, referees had the authority to remove a coach or manager from the field of play if their behavior was aggressive or disruptive.

The IFAB Changed the Rules

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In 2019, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) updated the Laws of the Game to include team officials, which encompasses coaches and members of the coaching staff, under the card system. This change aimed to create a more consistent approach to disciplining misconduct.

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, was the first Premier League manager to receive a yellow card under the new rules. He was cautioned for shouting and gesturing at an official during a game.

Examples of Coach Penalties

Coaches and managers can receive yellow and red cards or be sent off based on their behavior. Some examples of behaviors that may result in a caution (yellow card) include non-confrontational entry into the opposing team’s technical area, throwing or kicking objects on the sideline, and disrespectful gestures towards the referee.

Direct send-offs (red cards) are given for more severe offenses like confrontational entry into the opposing team’s technical area, aggression towards the referee, throwing or kicking items onto the field, using offensive language or gestures, and intentionally delaying the game.

Restarting Play

After a card is shown, play resumes according to the type of offense committed. Verbal offenses result in an indirect free kick for the non-offending team, while physical offenses lead to a direct free kick. The rules for restarting play are the same for both team officials and players.

Additional Penalties for Managers

Different leagues and tournaments have their own rules for penalizing coaches and managers who consistently receive yellow cards. For instance, under FA rules, managers can face bans and fines based on the number of yellow cards accumulated throughout the season.

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Who Takes Over?

When a manager or coach is sent off, they must leave the field immediately. However, the team won’t be left without guidance. Assistant coaches are usually present on the sideline and will step in to fill the role. They will also handle player substitutions and continue with the game plan.

The IFAB’s Impact

By holding top-ranking managers accountable, the IFAB aims to set an example for the entire soccer community. The new rules on carding team officials will have a ripple effect, even down to children’s leagues. Referees now have standardized procedures to handle coach and manager behavior, ensuring fair play and improving the overall running of the game.


  • Can soccer coaches receive yellow or red cards?

    • Yes, coaches can receive yellow and red cards for their behavior on the sideline.
  • What happens if a coach gets a red card?

    • If a coach receives a red card, they must leave the field, and their team will continue under the guidance of an assistant coach.
  • Do coaches face additional penalties for receiving cards?

    • Yes, different leagues and tournaments may impose additional penalties, such as bans or fines, for coaches who accumulate yellow cards.


Previously, referees didn’t have the authority to card coaches and managers directly. However, the IFAB’s updated Laws of the Game now allow referees to show yellow and red cards to coaches and other team officials. This change aims to protect referees, increase accountability for coaches, and set an example for soccer coaches worldwide.

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