Red Cards

  • The Evolution of Disciplinary Cards in Football

    While referees have had the authority to issue warnings and send players off the field since the 19th century, the iconic red and yellow cards we know today were not introduced until the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. Before this pivotal moment, the reporting of cautions was not widespread in contemporary media or official match reports, making it challenging to document these incidents accurately.

    The Catalyst for Change

    The 1966 World Cup quarter-final between England and Argentina proved to be a turning point in the history of football disciplinary measures. During this heated match, Argentine captain Antonio Rattin was dismissed, and three other Argentinian players were booked. In the midst of the chaos, England's manager, Alf Ramsey, sought clarification from FIFA and the referee regarding whether Jack and Bobby Charlton had also received cautions, as the situation was unclear amidst the melee. It turned out that the Charlton brothers had indeed been cautioned, but the confusion surrounding the incident highlighted the need for a more transparent and easily recognizable system.

    The Birth of the Card System

    As a direct result of the England-Argentina match, Ken Aston, the head of FIFA's refereeing committee, struck upon the ingenious idea of using a "traffic light" system of cards. The yellow card would represent a caution, while the red card would signify an expulsion, providing a clear and universally understood method of communicating disciplinary actions.

    Documenting Cautions

    At Englandstats, we have meticulously documented 467 England Yellow Cards, showcasing our commitment to preserving the rich history of English football. However, as mentioned above, this list is not exhaustive due to the challenges of accurately recording cautions before the introduction of the card system. While the journey to the current disciplinary system has been long and sometimes arduous, the introduction of the red and yellow cards has undoubtedly brought greater transparency and fairness to the beautiful game. As we continue to celebrate the sport's rich heritage, we remain dedicated to uncovering and documenting every aspect of its storied past.

    Hover over the card for a description of the offence(s).
  • 20 England Red Cards
  • card - Luke Shaw (1st) 80th minute, v Italy flag Italy, 23rd Mar 2023, European Championship Qualifier
  • card - John Stones (1st) 82nd minute, v Hungary flag Hungary, 14th Jun 2022, UEFA Nations League
  • card - Harry Maguire (1st) 31st minute, v Denmark flag Denmark, 14th Oct 2020, UEFA Nations League
  • card - Reece James (1st) 94th minute, v Denmark flag Denmark, 14th Oct 2020, UEFA Nations League
  • card - Kyle Walker (1st) 70th minute, v Iceland flag Iceland, 5th Sep 2020, UEFA Nations League
  • card - Raheem Sterling (1st) 79th minute, v Ecuador flag Ecuador, 4th Jun 2014, Friendly
  • card - Steven Gerrard (1st) 88th minute, v Ukraine flag Ukraine, 11th Sep 2012, World Cup Qualifier
  • card - Wayne Rooney (2nd) 74th minute, v Montenegro flag Montenegro, 7th Oct 2011, European Championship Qualifier
  • card - Rob Green (1st) 13th minute, v Ukraine flag Ukraine, 10th Oct 2009, World Cup Qualifier
  • card - Wayne Rooney (1st) 62nd minute, v Portugal flag Portugal, 1st Jul 2006, World Cup Finals
  • card - David Beckham (2nd) 59th minute, v Austria flag Austria, 8th Oct 2005, World Cup Qualifier
  • card - Alan Smith (1st) 93rd minute, v Macedonia flag Macedonia, 16th Oct 2002, European Championship Qualifier
  • card - David Batty (1st) 84th minute, v Poland flag Poland, 8th Sep 1999, European Championship Qualifier
  • card - Paul Scholes (1st) 52nd minute, v Sweden flag Sweden, 5th Jun 1999, European Championship Qualifier
  • card - Paul Ince (1st) 67th minute, v Sweden flag Sweden, 5th Sep 1998, European Championship Qualifier
  • card - David Beckham (1st) 47th minute, v Argentina flag Argentina, 30th Jun 1998, World Cup Finals
  • card - Ray Wilkins (1st) 43rd minute, v Morocco flag Morocco, 6th Jun 1986, World Cup Finals
  • card - Trevor Cherry (1st) 83rd minute, v Argentina flag Argentina, 12th Jun 1977, Friendly
  • card - Alan Ball (1st) 77th minute, v Poland flag Poland, 6th Jun 1973, World Cup Qualifier
  • card - Alan Mullery (1st) 87th minute, v Serbia & Montenegro flag Serbia & Montenegro, 5th Jun 1968, European Championship Finals

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