Should yellow cards be wiped out before a major club final?

ChelseaYellow (Getty Images)

FIFA has already taken steps to assure that players picking up a single yellow card in the semifinals of the World Cup won't be ineligible for the final because of card accumulation. Should club governing bodies adopt the same approach?

The question is raised yet again after Chelsea's riveting triumph over Barcelona, one in which three starters picked up their second cards of the knockout phase and are forced to miss the final. The case of John Terry being sent off is one thing. Anyone sent off in a semifinal shouldn't have a place in the final. But in the case of his teammates Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles, it becomes a more debatable question. 

The debate is not just limited to the UEFA Champions League either. In last year's CONCACAF Champions League, Kyle Beckerman was forced to miss the second leg of the final after picking up a single yellow card in the first leg, and Real Salt Lake went on to drop the result to Monterrey. This year, Humberto Suazo is ineligible for Los Rayados' second leg against Santos Laguna after picking up one yellow in last week's first leg.

What do you think, should yellow cards be wiped off the board before a major final? Cast your vote after the jump:


How did you vote? Do you think Chelsea has a chance against either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid without all of those players? Think Monterrey can hold off Santos Laguna without Suazo?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Champions League, UEFA Champions League. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Should yellow cards be wiped out before a major club final?

  1. liz2 says:

    Depending on how many yellows (less than 3 for the knockout stages)should be cleared. Red cards should not.

  2. WeatherManNX01 says:

    As weird as it may be typing these words, FIFA has got it right. Draw a line between the quarters and semis, and start with a clean slate. If you’re stupid enough to accumulate yellows, then you deserve to sit out.

    But you can’t just wipe it clean after the semis, because then no one pays the price for the actions, and they can play with impunity.

  3. LA Galaxy says:


  4. HoboMike says:

    What’s the current rule? How long do players carry yellow cards? It’s silly if Ivanovic, for example, got a yellow card in the round of 16, one in the semis, and is out.

    I think a yellow should be carried for the next game only. Being ruled out of a semi for getting a yellow for time-wasting in the round of 16, and another one in the quarterfinals, is a bit harsh. Yellows in 2 consective games = miss the third. Yellow in one game and good behavior the next = erase it.

    And I do love the fact that Terry will not be playing. He actually tried to blame it on Sanchez at first – he said Sanchez made a run and stopped short.

    He stopped short!! That’s my move!!!

  5. marco says:


  6. HoboMike says:

    But doesn’t that mean you can play with impunity in the quarterfinals too, knowing that a yellow card will get wiped out the minute the ref’s whistle blows?

    If you get a yellow in the quarters, and you get one in the semis, you should be out for the final.

  7. bodhi187 says:

    There should also be a third option:

    YES, but only when the yellow cards were assessed in a game against a team known for massive diving and other theatrics, such as Barca.

  8. Spencer says:

    Pretty close to what I was thinking, allow them to play if its only because of a yellow, but if they get a Red then they can’t play unless it is overturned because it was a bad call. But a yellow shouldn’t prevent you from a final

  9. Felix says:

    I think it depends on the amount of yellows. I think if a player picks up over a certain amount, let’s say 4 or 5 throughout the tournament, than no, he should sit. But if its less – than I’m fine with wiping them out.

  10. Felix says:

    That’s funny thinking about how much Drogba flopped around in the first leg.

    Very selective memory you have.

  11. HoboMike says:

    +1. Beat me to it.

  12. KC says:

    They probably should, but then, as much anti-football as Chelsea played yesterday can you imagine how bad it would’ve been if they know the cards would be erased for next game?

  13. HoboMike says:

    I understand where you’re coming from but what, exactly, was Chelsea supposed to do, especially once Terry pulled a boner?

  14. sr says:

    No, quarters and semis are 4 total matches. So there is only 1 match out of four, where accumulation wont matter.

  15. HoboMike says:

    You’re right – I meant 2 consecutive matches.

  16. KC says:

    I understand but as a fan of football that made the time to sit down and watch the game I have the right to complain about Chelsea turning it into a very boring game.

  17. Mark says:

    I understand that people want to see full strength sides, but the players know the consequences of their actions and need to manage it better. In a game like yesterday, Chelsea was fighting for their lives so they made sacrifices to make the final, and now the need to pay the piper.

  18. chris says:

    The boring part was watching Barcelona try to pass the ball into the net instead of taking shots.

  19. HoboMike says:

    I didn’t think it was boring – I though it was fascinating/borderline hilarious watching Barca continually try to overwhelm the center of the field where no less than 16 players were at all times.

    You can also blame Barca for refusing to try/being incapable of an alternate strategy as well. They had to know what was coming – it was exactly what happened last Wednesday. I’m sure Pique’s injury screwed things up somewhat, but so far Guardiola’s alternate strategy is to go 3-4-3, build up play wide and then do to same thing they always do once they hit the box.

  20. HoboMike says:

    Agreed. It was great the few times they actually shot from outside the box – created all kinds of havoc.

  21. Vic says:

    Absolutely!!! Soccer is more arcane than religion. They need to get with the modern times in many ways.

  22. dgoshilla says:

    Cumulative cards are the dumbest rule in all of sports.

  23. Jones says:

    If you wipe out cards then the tournament is all about 1 game. It’s a tournament and the players’ discipline during the tournament should factor in to the final. Chelsea (or anyone else) shouldn’t be penalized for poor discipline in the games leading up to the final just because it’s the final?

  24. James says:

    A yellow card is a CAUTION, it should never keep a player out of a following match.

  25. Annelid Gustator says:

    Want to make it exciting? Make them eligible for *just the second half* of the final.

  26. drew says:

    I understand your point, but yellows can be given out for such minor infractions and with such variability that missing a final because of them is overly harsh.

    I just sympathize with many of these players, especially those that are from countries that will never make it to or succeed in the WC, this is their biggest stage, and to miss out on it for two minor infractions is heart breaking.

  27. The Imperative Voice says:

    Amen. A team that scratches and claws its way into the final, with ejections and card accumulation, shouldn’t be able to avoid the consequences of the strategy by making the final. I know the fans will say they want to see the best players, but a huge part of why Chelsea is in the final is because they were brawling til the final whistle. Since you don’t want to encourage negative play you have to enforce the punishments, including red card suspensions and yellow card accumulation.

    My caveats would be that UEFA/FIFA (depending what tourney we’re talking about) should then try to keep the reffing consistent (no Holland-Portugal 2006 insanity please) so that teams pay for their pasts equally; and conversely that on a case by case basis there be room for appeal where, say, video evidence refutes the card entirely……like the guy whiffing and falling over his own feet in the waning moments of the A-League final.

  28. MC Pharaoh says:

    Michael Bradley in the Confed Cup final vs Brazil aswell…

  29. Kevin_Amold says:

    YOu guys did my work for me.

  30. beachbum says:

    well said. I agree.

  31. beachbum says:


  32. KC says:

    One yellow card DOES NOT keep you out of the following game. MULTIPLE yellow cards do.

  33. DiegoCapel says:

    Please, fellas. Drogba may have taken a bunch of dives in the first leg but in general, no team dives more than Barca – in particular Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves, Pedro and Cesc.

  34. Kevin_Amold says:

    I do not agree to this sentiment.

  35. Rob says:

    My sentiments exactly

  36. Rob says:

    I don’t see how that would make it exciting. Unless you mean that putting in the suspended players for card accumulations doesn’t count against their substitutions during the game.

  37. B 16 says:

    Jermaine Jones will never see a final if the rules stay the same re:card accumulation!

  38. Juan from L.A. says:

    Wait the point and bottomline is that the players know to avoid a yellow card before the game. So why the question? Its not like if they get a yellow and then AFTER the game find out hey you can’t play in the Final. That would be dumb and not fair. Terry’s suspension yesterday was well deserved. Its part of the game. I bet if this poll was in Europe or South America it would overwhelming be in the other side.