In a state sanctioned soccer match, a referee ejected a player after showing the player a yellow card for a tackle (yellow card was deserved), followed by a red card. The player attempted to ask the ref what the Red card was for, but the Ref would not talk to the player and just told the player to leave the field. The player was sent off and 9 minutes later when the ref was near the bench, the player again asked the ref why he was sent off when he never had a first yellow. The ref THEN looked into his book and realized he had made a mistake as the player never received the first yellow card. He apologized and allowed the player to return into the game.

What is the FIFA laws for this kind of mistake? Can the game be contested?

USSF answer (October 27, 2009):
This excerpt from the Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game applies to your question (Advice 5.13):

If the referee discovers after play has restarted that the wrong player was cautioned (yellow card) or sent off (red card), the display of the card cannot be changed and must be reported. The referee must provide in the match report all details relevant to the mistake.

The failure of the referee to include in the match report accurately and fully all cards displayed during play and not timely rescinded is a serious breach of the referee’s responsibilities. In addition, the referee may not record cards as shown which have not been shown, although the facts of the player’s behavior may be included in the match report.

Referees may not decide to rescind a caution if the player who has already been charged with misconduct apologizes.

In your situation, the referee erred by allowing the player to return. Life is hard and the referee owes the player both an apology and appropriate remarks to that effect in the match report.

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