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A Selection Of The Weirdest Yellow And Red Cards In Football History

A Selection Of The Weirdest Yellow And Red Cards In Football History

In the weekend's football action, there were a couple of weird incidents that led to cards being shown.

In Ligue One, a Bastia player was sent off for smacking the fourth official's electronic board after the official accidentally hit him in the face with the object.


But as we know, bizarre incidents in the world of football are far from an anomaly and there have been a plethora of cards, some yellow, some red, shown for weird reasons that some of us still have no clue as to what the referee was thinking.

Here is a selection.

Player booked in Zimbabwe for Witchcraft


We start with one of the most bizarre incidents to ever take place in a football match and it's a fairly recent one. In a Rwandan Premier League game between Mukura Victory and Rayon Sport, Victory striker Moussa Camara had just missed a sitter and was clearly feeling out of luck.

He then opted to try and change his fortunes by trotting over to the post, putting an object there and appearing to put on some sort of spell. Rayon's goalkeeper is absolutely furious and the No.9 is then booked by the referee for using witchcraft.

Yet moments later, he heads home an equaliser - as if the witchcraft had given him the power to be prolific in-front of goal.

As a result, witchcraft been banned in Rwanda following fears that some players are gaining an "unfair advantage" and the fact it is scaring players and officials.

Pretty normal, right?

Was Kevin Horlock sent off for aggressive walking?

It's a good job the next one is equally as normal...

Granted, there is no footage of Kevin Horlock's dismissal for Manchester City in a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth in 1999 but it's been a recurring joke among Manchester City fans that the midfielder was sent off for aggressive walking. Horlock was the second player to be sent off after Jamie Pollock and he himself did not have a clue why he had been shown a second yellow card by the referee.

The story goes that referee Paul Coddington, possibly trying to cover his tracks, had told Joe Royle, City boss at the time, that he had sent off Horlock for "walking in an aggressive manner" but also using foul language towards him. Coddington says that Royle left out the last bit when speaking to the media afterwards and so the consensus since then has been that Horlock, a key figure in the club's promotion-winning team in 1999, was shown red for aggressive walking.

Horlock maintains that he was indeed sent off for aggressive walking and is still not happy about it to this day.

Speaking on the Blue Moon podcast, he said:

"I walked fairly quickly to him, maybe.

"I've got one leg shorter than the other that maybe makes it look like I was being a bit aggressive. I probably had a skinhead at the time. But I certainly wasn't aggressive -- I was just going to go and ask him about a foul previously!

"It's funny now, but it wasn't at the time when I missed a few games because of it."

Swedish player gets his marching orders for letting rip

When the words "let rip!" are uttered on a football pitch, it's normally a signal to smash one into the top corner. However, footballer Adam Lindin Ljungkvist, playing in the seventh tier for Järna SK's B-team against Pershagen SK, presumably misunderstood as he was sent off for farting in the glamorous fixture back in June.

Playing with a bad stomach, he claims that the referee viewed his cutting of the cheese as "unsportsmanlike behaviour".

Commenting on his dismissal, he said:

"It was a strange decision, I can hardly believe it myself. I had a bad stomach and in the last minute (of the match) I farted. Then the referee came over and gave me a yellow card, then a red card.

It was my second warning, although I completely forgot about the first (warning). I was a little angry at the ref, I could not quite believe what had happened.


All I can assume is that the ref thought I was farting on an opponent. But to provoke anyone with a fart is not particularly smart or normal. I farted and I got the red card. The ref said it was unsportsmanlike behaviour."

If you need to let it out, you've got to let it out. I once scored an absolute screamer in training and truly believe breaking wind is what gave me the impetus to find the top corner on the volley.

Gianfranco Zola dismissed in his final World Cup appearance

I don't know how any man in the middle could possibly send off little Gianfranco Zola. As well as being an absolute gem of a player, he is one of the nicest and most honest guys in football.

But for some reason, one referee decided to completely sabotage what would be the Italian's final appearance in a World Cup in 1994 just 12 minutes into the game against Nigeria. After losing the ball, Zola came across defender Augustine Eguavoen and though it was probably worthy of a foul and free-kick, Arturo Brizio Carter giving him a straight red was an absolute farce.

Zola would then miss the next two games in the tournament, including the final. His reaction says everything about the incident.

It takes three yellow cards for Croatia player to leave the pitch

Referee Graham Poll had an absolute nightmare in the 2006 World Cup game between Croatia and Australia when he showed three yellow cards to defender Josip Simunic.

Simunic was shown a yellow card for his first offence but it was not recorded by Poll, the only English referee present in Germany for the tournament. When the second offence came around, another yellow card was brandished and not a red.

The Croatian managed to keep a poker-face on and remain on the pitch but was then shown a third yellow and then a red for dissent at the final whistle.

The horrendous error then led to Poll retiring from international football tournament finals. As for Simunic, I still find it baffling that he had the cheek to moan to the ref and subsquently receive a red card when he should have had one three minutes earlier.

David Healy's ridiculous red against Wales

There have been so many ridiculous red cards over the years but David Healy's dismissal against Wales in 2004 is right up there. The Northern Ireland striker had netted his side's second goal of the game 20 minutes into a World Cup qualifier and was shown two yellow cards for his celebration.

His buzz from scoring led to him kicking the corner flag, which you could argue is indeed worthy of a yellow card if you're being picky but the reason for his second yellow is just baffling. The referee deemed a gesture directed at his family in the crowd, which was Healy's go-to celebration for Preston North End, to be offensive and sent him off.

What a joke.

Non-League player helps out the stewards in tackling streaker, but gets a red for his efforts

It's common knowledge that stewards aren't very good at stopping streakers and pitch invaders and as a player, when someone from the crowd is trying to hog the limelight and stopping the flow of the game, it's going to get on your nerves. In a Conference South game a few years back, the stewards were having no luck chasing a Borat wannabe and so the Dorchester skipper Ashley Vickers intervened and tackled the man in the mankini to the ground.

But stupidly, the referee opted to show him a red card for violent conduct. Had he not took matters into his own hands, they'd probably still be waiting for the game to begin again today.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs mix-up

One of the most idiotic and laughable calls in the Premier League from a referee is still relatively fresh in the memory. A penalty was awarded in the game between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in 2014 after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had used his hand to stop Eden Hazard's effort on the line but Andre Marriner was responsible for one of the worst refereeing errors in history when he sent off Kieran Gibbs instead, in a case of mistaken identity.

Ox tried to tell him that he was him who had committed the offence but the decision stood and Arsenal went on to lose the game 6-0.

Marriner had to apologise for the incident and both Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain were cleared by The FA, who deemed the latter's actions not worthy of a red given that Hazard's strike was heading wide.

Rivaldo with the greatest con of all time

For how gifted and talented he was with the ball, Brazilian legend Rivaldo is remembered for his disgraceful play-acting and outright cheating in a World Cup game against Turkey in 2002. In stoppage time, Turkey midfielder Hakan Unsal kicked the ball back to Rivaldo and the ball caught him on the thigh.

But the forward went down holding his face as if he'd just been caught with a Sweet Chin Music by Shawn Michaels, conning the referee into giving Unsal a second yellow. The former Barcelona man was fined around £5,180 for his actions and his theatrics are still talked about today.

Samuel Inkoom sees red as he exits the pitch

It's fair to say that we've had some properly bizarre ones but we're ending on a mental sending off. Playing for Dnipro in Ukraine, Samuel Inkoom was being substituted and as he exited the pitch, he took his shirt off a bit too early. The jobsworth referee showed him a second yellow while he was leaving the pitch and Dnipro were unable to make their desired substitution.

And there you have it, a nice mix of daft yellow and red card incidents over the years.

Have we missed any out? Let us know in the comments.

Words by Josh Lawless

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.


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A Selection Of The Weirdest Yellow And Red Cards In Football History

A Selection Of The Weirdest Yellow And Red Cards In Football History

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