Is your Carding Technique used as a management tool?

It was in 1970 four years after the World Cup in England when former Romford RA colleague Ken Aston had to go onto the Wembley turf to assist the referee to get the Argentine player Rattin off the field.

The referee had pointed to the dressing room sending the Argentine player off,  but Rattin was having none of it.

Ken Aston a former top FIFA referee was in an official capacity working for FIFA at the time.

With the player refusing to go off Ken decided to go onto the field and usher the player off to assist the referee.

Language was the problem with the player failing to understand what was been said.

Some years later whilst at a junction in his car, Ken was at a set of traffic lights and suddenly the idea of red and yellow cards came into his head.

The rest, of course, is history and Ken Aston’s legacy continues in our great game.

Before the introduction of the cards referees would communicate by getting the player to come to him and then asking his name, then advising that he was going to be cautioned or sent off.

Whilst it did not take up a great deal of time the action of cautioning a player certainly brought a gap and allowed a short period of time for the players to calm down.

On other occasions after an offence had taken place the whistle blown, the referee calling the player to him allowed the official some thinking time and to replay the incident in his mind. In that period the referee could determine if it was going to be a warning or a card.

I have over recent years witnessed a decline in the carding technique applied by referees.

I am not questioning the decision to show a card, but more how the referee applies it.

Sadly I sometimes see the referee raise the card and I am wondering who the player is that has received it.

No exchange of words and a missed opportunity to talk to the player advising him that he needs to calm down.

There is no point in showing a card to the back of a player or the offender who decides to crouch over whilst you are showing it.

Eye to eye contact is important to ensure that your authority is not undermined.

I would always recommend that when you want to talk to a player you use the triangle method by taking the player to one side, informing him that he is going to be cautioned, then asking the player for his name before raising the card.

This short break in the game can often reduce tension and avoid a second yellow been applied within seconds.

The triangle method is to avoid confrontation between you and the player.

If the players are at point A of the triangle you are directly opposite at point B you request the player to join you at point C setting off first. Referees should avoid shouting at the player to come directly towards you just in case he decides not to. This might impact on your authority visually by spectators and the triangle application will avoid potential conflict between you and the offending player.

 Having said that there are two areas where I would suggest that the card comes out of your pocket quickly.

1. A challenge where a player might think it is red and by producing the card and holding it down by your side everyone can see that you have judged that the foul challenge is yellow, not red. This can avoid an escalation of a problem
2. The other is where a serious foul play or violent conduct takes place and a quick showing of the red card will avoid any conflict between opponents and a mass confrontation.

Finally, if you are right-handed then I would recommend that your yellow card is in your right-hand pocket and the red card kept in your back pocket that has either a button or Velcro holding it down. Mine used to be in my breast pocket in my shirt.

The red card is slightly more difficult to produce and again gives you the referee some thinking time before you take action.

Enjoy your next game and use the cards has a management tool and in some games that also means the use of the Sin Bin for dissent.

Keith Hackett – email: keith