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Two separate cautionable offences

Two separate cautionable offences in close proximity. It has never happened to me that I have to show a player two yellow cars plus a red card within seconds. How about you?

The only situation I remember is with Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır, but that is a while ago. During the Uefa Champions League game between Ajax and Real in 2018-2019 there is a similar one with referee Felix Brych. Real Madrid player Nacho has the “honour” of receiving two yellows in one minute. One season later: Brych experienced a similar situation again in the game between Napoli vs Barcelona.

Have a look at both videos and keep in mind: how does the referee handle it? Below I’ll share my take-aways from this including an explanation about the laws that apply.

The initial clip of the match in 2019-2020 has been deleted, so this is a different version. The quality is a bit worse, but it’s clear what happens.

Belown the video of the game where Nacho receives two cards.

Recognize situations yourself

I always ask you to look at the referee, because it’s very important for you to learn yourself. You can read tips below, but it’s always important you recognize situations yourself as well.

Two cautionable offences: Brych cards Nacho

LOTG about two separate cautionable offences

The Laws of the Game are very clear on this. “Where two separate cautionable offences are committed (even in close proximity), they should result in two cautions.” IFAB also has provided us with an example. “If a player enters the field of play without the required permission and commits a reckless tackle or stops a promising attack with a foul/handball, etc.”

You get it, right?

The Nacho situation

Referee Felix Brych officiates the game between Real Madrid and Ajax in the UCL quarter finals. There is a lot of tension, because Ajax is in the lead in Bernabeu.

Tip 1: Be alert when players lose a ball

The clip starts with a cross to the left corner. You might think, why there, but there is a reason I show this long clip. You’ll see Nacho is trying to pass a defender and fails. He thinks it is a foul, but the German referee signals that play continues.

As a referee you should be alert now. That is when he wants to win the ball back and will put some extra effort in.


But not always in the right way.

Game management with fouls

Nacho is sprinting back to his own half and is too late with his tackle. He is not endangering his opponent’s safety in my opinion, but the yellow is correct. You need to show these yellows. These are not calls that decide a game in terms of a goal, but are key in terms of game management.

Tackle by Nacho on defender

Tip: Go to the situation

With these tackles, make sure you’re present. Move closer, as Brych does, because fouled players might get frustrated. Here the Ajax defender stays calm and Nacho walks off.

All fine then. But unfortunately for Nacho Ajax player Ziyech is there. We can’t hear what they say, but it’s clear that he stops Nacho and probably says something about that tackle. And then Nacho reacts and pushes Ziyech away.

What would you have done in this second situation normally?

  • No cards
  • Show both players players a yellow
  • Show only Nacho a yellow

Does it make a difference for you if someone is about to receive another yellow as well?

Red card by Felix Brych

Showing the cards

Felix Brych immediately points at Nacho as it was obvious for him that he was the one who caused trouble there.

When Brych shows the first yellow card Nacho turns, so he misses the second yellow card. Amongst tv presenters there was also some confusion. Some even mention that VAR is saying something to the ref. That is not correct.

Tip 3: Communicate – also to the tv watchers

Consequently, Brych shows the cards again and also communicates the reasons. The first one was for the tackle, the second for the push. You can tell it to players, but the whole world is watching on tv.

So communicate to the world. Good job there.

My takes on this situation. How would you handle this?

Brych communicates push to others

Other situations: what’s your call in the Milner clip?

what’s your call in the Milner clip?

Cakir clip when he sends of Chris Baird


  • George

    An easy caution following the tackle for unsporting behaviour (lack of respect for the game).
    Then ask the player to stay with me and bring Ziyech also in and talk to both. Ask them to calm down and warn Nacho that a second yellow would result in a red, therefore he needed to be careful.

    Personally I would not caution Nacho for the push on Ziyech as I do not consider it was aggressive attitude.
    It was more of a defensive push kind of get out of my zone as Ziyech went almost in Nacho’s face to have a word about the challenge. This is not what Ziyech should be doing as it does not help the game. The referee has given the foul and the Ajax player should let the referee deal with it.
    So a verbal warning to both and nothing more.

  • Tom Severin

    The initial challenge by Nacho made no attempt to play the ball, strictly taking the attacker down. Yellow #1. The resulting activity with the second opponent was inflammatory. Second yellow, RED, Adios. Sending off Nacho was correct and also excellent game management. And yes, in one adult match, I also had a quick succession of cautions-send off. Sometimes the players are DARING you to enforce the LOTG. Adios.

  • Jose Ramos

    I have seen so many times when referees don’t call fouls, players will make justice by themselves even if that means getting a yellow or red card. It was a referee mistake to call when Nacho was fouled. Nacho reaction was bad, but it was a reaction after an unfair referee decision.

  • Peter

    I always shout to the player that he has a yellow card hanging next time the ball goes out of play. So both the player and the others knows that he has a yellow card.
    I am sure that it has stoppede several players from doing anything stupid until they get the ball out of play.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Prevention helps the referee a lot indeed. Curious if the opponent then tries to provoke him, but it’s up to the other player not to respond.

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