Premier League Yellow Card Rules – A Complete Guide

The Premier League is referred to as the best football league in the world. Although there is great attacking football there is also solid defensive football. This means that on any given day any team In the Premier League can beat a top four team.  However, the great defending of the Premier League also leads to a large number of yellow cards. this may make you wonder what are the Premier League yellow card rules?

Premier League Yellow Card Rules? Yellow cards can be issued as a caution for the following offences:

  • clearly/persistently not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area
  • delaying the restart of play by their team
  • deliberately entering the technical area of the opposing team (non-confrontational)
  • dissent by word or action
  • entering the referee review area (RRA)
  • excessively/persistently gesturing for a red or yellow card
  • excessively showing the TV signal for a VAR ‘review’
  • gesturing or acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner
  • persistent unacceptable behaviour (including repeated warning offences)
  • showing a lack of respect for the game.

In this article we will take a look at the example of each offence and we will also look at how yellow cards are managed within the Premier League. This will include the the suspensions that a player receives at different times during the league campaign depending on the yellow cards received.

What is the 5 yellow card rule?

If a player is shown 5 yellow cards within the first 19 games of the Premier League season then that player will serve a one match ban. After the 19th game of the Season if a player picks up 5 yellow cards they will not serve the one match ban. 

Do yellow cards reset in Premier League?

In the Premier League yellow cards theoretically do not reset, as the yellow cards will always be counted on a players statistics for the season. However, the threat of suspension is reset depending on when in the Premier League season a player meets a certain quota of cards. As an example if you receive 4 yellow cards in the first 19 games of the season you you will not receive suspension until you reach the 10 card limit.  However, if you were unfortunate enough to pick up fifth yellow card in the 18th game of the season then you would be suspended.

Can you get a yellow card then red card?

Yes it is possible to get a yellow card then a red card. This can happen in number of instances firstly, a player could be shown yellow card for a tackle early in the game. Later in the same game the same player could make another cynical tackle and be shown another yellow and then a red.

Alternatively, a player may make a cynical tackle and receive a yellow card. The player then may make a dangerous tackle which leads to a straight red card later in the game.

Does 2 yellow cards equal a red card?

Yes if a player is shown two yellow cards in the same game then it equals a red card. There has only been one occasion when when a player has been booked with 3 yellow cards before being sent off and that was when Graham Poll forgot to send off the player in the World Cup.

Do you miss the next game for two yellow cards?

Yes if a player receives two yellow cards in a game, that results in a red card. The player will then miss the next game. However, if there is a cup game between Premier League fixtures this can be counted as the game that you are suspended for.

Why do you get a yellow card if you take your top off?

The rule for having a yellow card for taking your top off was introduced in the early 2000s. The hope by the Premier League was to stop time wasting. As the player would then have to put on their shirt following the goal celebration. Fabrizio Ravanelli made this celebration famous in the Premier League. it has lead to situations whereby a player has been booked and then sent off because they have taken the shirt off and it is their second offence of the game. 

Can you play advantage on a second yellow card?

Yes you can play advantage on a second yellow card. an example of this is in the video below when Chelsea played Ajax.  A challenge took place that resulted in a second yellow card however, advantage was played and then the referee came back to the player to issue the yellow cards following advantage being played.

All time Premier League Yellow Cards

The Premier League  started in 1992 and there is one player who holds the most yellow cards of all-time. This player is Gareth Barry who accumulated 123 yellow cards in his career. In second place is Wayne Rooney With 102 yellow cards during his Premier League career. Lee Bowyer is in third place with 99 yellow cards. the table below shows you the top 10 players to receive yellow cards.

Premier League PlayerNumber of Yellow Cards
Gareth Barry123 Yellow Cards
Wayne Rooney102 Yellow Cards
Lee Bowyer99 Yellow Cards
Kevin Davies99 Yellow Cards
Paul Scholes97 Yellow Cards
Scott Parker92 Yellow Cards
Robbie Savage89 Yellow Cards
Lee Cattermole 88 Yellow Cards
George Boateng85 Yellow Cards
Kevin Nolan85 Yellow Cards


I started watching football in the early 90s and was hooked. I fell in love with Chelsea and have supported them ever since. I have also written a book on Corporate Governance and Firm Performance in England and Scottish football.

Recent Posts