I am an Assistant Referee, therefore I am not able to center and do not know the answer to this question. Can you card a player even if the center does not actually have his cards with him.

Had a girl playing very dangerously making late tackles, grabbing and got up one time after a late tackle and said “I don’t care if he cards me”. So I went the the center at halftime and said I was very surprised he did not card the player after the 3rd, 4th or 5th foul.

His response was don’t tell anyone but I left my cards in my bag. He did end up carding her in the second half which really should have been a second yellow by that time. Basically can a ref raise his hand over a play and say Yellow or Red or do they actually have to have a card to show? I can see a game really getting out of control if a ref can’t issue a yellow or red just because they don’t have a piece of plastic in their pocket.

USSF answer (May 18, 2010):
While normal and fully correct procedure would be to show the card to a player after telling him or her why he or she was being disciplined, we can state quite definitely that a player may be cautioned or sent off without showing the card. Any referee who fails to enforce the Laws correctly simply because of having forgotten the cards does the game a major disservice — and can give him- or herself major problems with discipline and game management.

And, wonder of wonders, the referee can always stop the game and go back to his bag and fetch the cards to put them to use. And don’t forget the pen or pencil, or the notebook or note card on which to write what has happened for the game report. In addition, each AR should have had cards with him
which the referee could have borrowed.

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