To Hand Out A Yellow Card For A Bad Tackle, Or Not: Premier League Referees Can’t Win

West Ham United achieved more than 3 points against Queens Park Rangers on Monday night. They now have the milestone of being the first Premier League side in the history of the league to receive 8 yellow cards in one game.

But for those of you who, like me, watched the game, it wasn’t a dirty match at all. The Hammers deservedly received some yellow cards for time wasting, but the fact that West Ham received eight yellow cards is ridiculous. To me, it was an average Premier League match filled with fair tackles and wasn’t overly aggressive at all.

To be fair to Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg, he can’t win. Early in the match, while watching it on ESPN2 with commentators Ian Darke and Steve McManaman, one of the West Ham United players made a bad tackle outside of the penalty area. Both Darke and McManaman moaned that the tackle was deserving of a yellow card. Yes, it was a poorly executed tackle, but if referees handed out yellow cards for every tackle like that, the game would practically cease to exist.

Later on in the match, with referee Clattenburg having handed out eight yellow cards to West Ham United, Darke began to complain how ridiculous the situation was.

The reality is that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be on the referee’s case if he’s not giving out enough yellow cards for mistimed tackles. And you can’t complain about the referee if he follows through and delivers the cards as he sees fit.

Personally, I prefer referees to use good judgment when deciding whether to hand out yellow cards or not. If it’s a vicious tackle, then either a yellow or red card is necessary. But you can’t begin handing out yellow cards for every missed tackle.

The bottom line is that referees will never be able to please everybody. Whether it’s the football commentators, managers, players or fans, there’s always going to be somebody who is complaining about the decisions that referees make. The only thing we can hope for is that they make the decisions to the best of their ability.


  1. SoccerLimey October 2, 2012
  2. brn442 October 2, 2012
  3. PaulF October 2, 2012
  4. IanCransonsKnees October 2, 2012
  5. Dust October 2, 2012

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