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Law discussion: Yellow + yellow = Red

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In a match at Parc y Scarlets in Millennia, the two yellow cards happen in quick succession.

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

Unfortunately, we cannot see the whole event as the video evidence we have been able to get is limited.

The match was between Scarlets and visitors Sale Sharks. On at 53 minutes, Faf de Klerk came as a substitute for the Sale Sharks scrumhalf Will Cliff. De Klerk was not in the field for long, just seven minutes in fact.

De Klerk was penalised for being offside and shown a yellow card. He appealed to the referee but the referee took no notice of the appeal, and De Klerk jogged off.

As he was jogging off the ball was thrown to him, arriving directly in his possession. He immediately threw the ball back in the direction that it had come.

The referee consulted his assistant on that side of the field and then showed De Klerk a yellow card to go with the first one moments earlier, and then showed him a red card, telling him he would be off for the rest of the match.

Law 9 YELLOW AND RED CARDS
28. When a player is being cautioned and suspended for 10 minutes, the referee will show that player a yellow card. If that player later commits another yellow-card offence, the player must be sent off.
29. When a player is being sent off, the referee will show that player a red card and the player will take no further part in the match. A player sent off may not be replaced.

A yellow card for offside?

Law 9 Foul play PRINCIPLE
A player who commits foul play must either be cautioned or temporarily suspended or sent off.
[Temporarily suspended = yellow card.]

UNFAIR PLAY
7. A player must not:
a. Intentionally infringe any law of the game.
b. Intentionally knock, place, push or throw the ball with arm or hand from the playing area.

i. So if the infringement is intentional (Cynical is the world referees often use.), it is a part of foul play and a yellow card is possible.
ii. Also, if it is a repeated infringement, by De Klerk or his team, it is also an act of foul play.

Law 9 REPEATED INFRINGEMENTS
8. A team must not repeatedly commit the same offence.
9. A player must not repeatedly infringe the laws.
Sanction: Penalty.
10. When different players of the same team repeatedly commit the same offence, the referee gives a general caution to the team and if they then repeat the offence, the referee temporarily suspends the guilty player(s).

When De Klerk throws the ball back after it was thrown to him, it is not clear from the video where it was thrown.

i. If it was thrown into touch, that would fall under foul play.
ii If it was a deliberate attempt to slow down the opponents' use of the ball, that would also be foul play.

Law 20. OPPOSING TEAM AT A PENALTY
When a penalty is awarded, the opposing team must immediately retreat 10 metres towards their own goal-line or until they have reached their goal-line if that is closer.
The opposing team may not do anything to delay the kick or obstruct the kicker, including intentionally taking, throwing or kicking the ball out of reach of the team awarded the penalty. Sanction: Second penalty, 10 metres in front of the original mark.

Law 9 MISCONDUCT
26. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.

That also falls in the category of foul play.

There is enough in the law to understand why the referee did what he did, but the second yellow card does seem tough as there seems no malicious intent in what De Klerk did.

After the matter was examined and the finding was:

"The sanction table set out at Appendix 1 to RFU Regulation 19 determines that the sanction for two yellow cards (where both are given for a technical offence) is sending off sufficient.

"The player is free to play again immediately."

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