David, an adult pro fan, asks:
So, I watched Real Madrid win a 12th Champions league. Ramos cleanly tackles Cuadrado and forces the ball out of play for a throw in. While the ball is out of play, Cuadrado with the slightest of touches taps Ramos on the shoulder and Ramos falls down grabbing his foot (completely looks like a dive). The ref then gives Cuadrado a 2nd yellow. My question is, could Ramos get a card for simulation whilst the ball is out of play?
Answer (see also “Apology” posted on July 5)
We are so glad you didn’t ask about whether Ramos cleanly tackled Cuadrado or whether Cuadrado’s tap on Ramos’ shoulder was “the slightest of touches” or whether Ramos’ reaction was a “dive” because, as we say in our statement of what our objectives are in operating this website, we don’t answer questions about specific match plays and specific Referee decisions. The only answerable question here is whether the Law allows a caution for misconduct committed during a stoppage of play.
To expand a bit, the Law changed in 2016 to remove the Referee’s ability to show cards (yellow or red) for player behavior prior to the start of a match or after the final whistle sounds completing a match (including any post-game tiebreaking activity). Of course, players can still commit misconduct before and after the game but, as of 2016, no cards can be shown. The Referee is still allowed to dismiss a player for an offense otherwise warranting a red card which occurs prior to the match but doing so does not affect the team’s ability to field the maximum number of players allowed by Law 3. And any misconduct occurring before or after a match must still be included in the match report. However, none of this touched in the slightest the ability (indeed, the obligation) of the Referee to show any yellow or red card (or, in this case, yellow+red cards) and apply any sanctions which attach to the card for misconduct occurring at any stoppage of play occurring for any reason at all between the opening and final whistles.