How Long Does A Yellow Card Last In Soccer?

Yellow cards are given almost during every single soccer game. It is rare to see a soccer game with zero yellow cards. In general, you can expect somewhere between 3 to 4 yellow cards per soccer game.

This clearly indicates that learning more about the yellow cards can help you understand the soccer game better

For that reason, I will be answering a question that haunted me when I first started learning about soccer, and the question is this: how long does the yellow card’s effect last? Here’s your quick answer:

During a soccer game, the effect of the yellow card lasts till the end of the game. It doesn’t stop there. The effect of a yellow card can sometimes last till the end of the competition, however the severity of the consequences is lessened in general as matches pass by.

So that’s your quick answer right there, but we won’t stop here. Here are the details of how long the effects of the yellow card lasts and what are these effects.

The span of the yellow card during a soccer game

During a soccer game, if you get a single yellow card, it means that you have been warned by the referee, and the warning will remain active till the end of the game.

It doesn’t matter when you get the yellow card. Whether you get a card during the first few seconds of the game or during the last few seconds, the yellow card will still hold till the rest of the game.

After your first yellow card, if you receive another card (another warning) at any time during the game, then the main referee will automatically give you a red card and ask you to leave the field immediately. 

You’ll also get suspended from playing the next game in the same competition if you get 2 yellow cards during the same soccer game.

The same thing applies for yellow cards given to coaches.

How does the yellow card carry over after a game?

It makes sense that the soccer rules allow the effects of the yellow cards to carry over after a match ends, or else a first yellow card will be completely useless during the last few minutes of a soccer game.

As mentioned previously however, the effects of the carried over yellow card is lessened after the match ends.

And what’s more interesting here is that there is no unified way of dealing with accumulated yellow cards. In other words, every soccer federation has the right to make changes to the rules of how to punish players with accumulated yellow cards.

The rest of this article will be discussing some of the most common punishments used by some soccer federations when it comes to yellow card accumulation.

What happens if a player gets a yellow card in 2 consecutive games?

In some soccer leagues, players are punished if they get a yellow card in 2 consecutive games. La Liga for example (Spain‘s main soccer league) suspends a player from playing their next game if they get a yellow card in 2 consecutive games.

However, the player will not be forced to leave the match immediately, they will only be forced to miss the next game.

But again, that’s in Spain and not every other soccer league punishes players for consecutive yellow cards in different games.

But there are some other forms of punishment when it comes to accumulated yellow cards.

The 5 yellow cards suspension rule.

In many soccer leagues around the world (eg: MLS, Premier League, La Liga), the accumulation of 5 yellow cards can result in a match-ban for the player during the next match in the competition.

However, the rules are slightly different between the different Leagues.

For example in the MLS, the yellow cards count does not carry over to the MLS Cup. In other words, the accumulated yellow cards in the MLS regular season do not carry over to the MLS Cup.

However, if a player manages to accumulate 5 yellow cards during the regular MLS season, then the player will be banned from the upcoming regular season game, and they will also be fined.

As for the Premier League, the 5 accumulated cards will have to be in the first 18 games of the competition for them to affect the player, or else, the number will change to 10 yellow cards in the first 32 games, and 15 yellow cards in the first 38 games (during the whole season basically).


So there you have it. In general, the yellow cards effects do not end after the game ends. However, the severity of the punishment is lessened in general after the game ends.

2 yellow cards in a single match will get you out of the match. 5 accumulated yellow cards in different matches might get you suspended from the next match in many of the world class soccer leagues, and so on.

You’ve reached the end of this article. If you are interested,  you can check this similar article that discusses the consequences of getting a red card as a goalkeeper.