Among the equipment a soccer referee carries are two little cards - one yellow, one red. They are used to signify to everyone in the stadium that the referee has determined a severe violation has occurred.
In such cases, the referee stops play, calls the offending player to him, gives him a lecture and "gives" the player a card.The yellow card is a caution, although the offender's name is written into the referee's little book and will be included in the official report to the league and governing organization.
A flagrant violation results in a red card. The offender is "booked" and ejected. A player tossed out of a match may not be replaced; his team must finish shorthanded.
A red card in World Cup games also means that player must sit out the next game.
Handing out a penalty is done with more flair in soccer than calling a foul in basketball.
The referee usually will "dress down" the player, take out the card and, with a flourish, hold it up in the face of the offender - to the delight or jeers of the crowd, depending upon which team has the biggest following.
Fans often bring oversized cards to games. They display them when the referee has called a foul, or when they think he should have.
Many South Americans have another way of assisting the referee. Several of those countries use yellow and red in their national flags. Fans wave the flags in support of their team and when a foul is called, they hold up the flag and point to the yellow or red to suggest which card they think should be issued.
As with all things in soccer, the decision on carding is strictly that of the referee. The rules spell out what action constitutes a foul. But they give referees wide discretion on whether the foul should be punished.
World Cup security
- Britain's National Crime Intelligence Service, which has dossiers on more than 5,500 troublemakers, has lent operatives to help monitor the games.
- The Rose Bowl won't sell beer. Fans at Giants Stadium can buy only two beers at a time, through half time.
- A crowd-control fence now rings the field at RFK Stadium in Washington.
- Guards will "pat down" fans at the Rose Bowl and Foxboro Stadium near Boston. Stanford Stadium will use closed-circuit cameras.