320X50 ecosports Soccer
320X50 ecosports Soccer

Best Soccer Penalty Cards

Soccer Penalty Cards

Penalty cards are one of the most iconic tools used in the game of soccer. These cards are only used by referees as a form of regulating the game. Penalty cards come in a few different variations, and learning about them is essential to understand penalties in soccer.

What are penalty cards used for in soccer?

Penalty cards are an important tool that referees use during a soccer match. Referees are the only people that can use these cards. While each type of card has a different purpose, they are all used to penalize a player or indicate that a player has committed a foul. These cards are usually small and rectangular, similar to a playing card. Referees will keep these cards in the front pocket of their shirts. They will also usually write down information on the back of the cards, such as the player receiving the penalty. Most leagues will use red and yellow cards, while some may use other colors as well.

While almost all penalty cards will be the same size, they will each have a different color. The color of the card is what indicates which type of penalty it is. When declaring one of these penalties, the referee will take the card out of their pocket and hold it in the air while pointing or looking at the player. Using a penalty card is up to the discretion of the referee.

Things To Consider

When looking for penalty cards, you'll want to consider the following:

  • Are you using penalty cards for indoor or outdoor soccer?
  • How much do you want to spend on penalty cards?
  • Are you a referee or coach?
  • What level of soccer are you playing?

What are you looking for in penalty cards?

  • Meet league standards
  • Affordability
  • Long-lasting
  • High visibility
  • Marker/pen friendly


The different types of penalty cards include yellow, red, blue, and green cards.

Yellow Card

Soccer Yellow Card

Yellow cards are the most commonly used card in soccer. They are used to indicate when a player has committed a foul that is slightly egregious or unnecessary. It also may be assigned if a player has committed multiple fouls. Yellow cards are essentially a warning to the player. If they receive one yellow card, they may stay in the game. Receiving a second yellow card will automatically cause the player to exit the game without replacement. In most cases, yellow cards will be erased from a player’s record after the match is over. In some tournaments, yellow cards may carry over from game to game.

Red Card

Soccer Red Card

Red cards are the most severe form of punishment a soccer player can receive. Once a player receives a red card they are immediately ejected from the game, and the team cannot replace them. In some leagues, red card suspensions will carry over and cause the player to be suspended for the next game as well. Red cards are given out when a player has either received two yellow cards or if the player commits a particularly dangerous act. Deliberately committing a foul on a clear scoring opportunity or in the penalty box will likely result in a red card as well.

Blue Card

Soccer Blue Card

Blue cards are a type of penalty card only used in indoor soccer. If a player receives a blue card in these leagues, they must immediately leave the game for a certain amount of time. The offending player must wait in a penalty box and the team cannot replace the player during the time. Blue cards work similarly to penalties in ice hockey.

Green Card

Soccer Green Card

Green cards are another less commonly used penalty card. Depending on the league, green cards actually have a few different uses. In the Italian soccer league, Serie B, green cards are used to indicate an act of sportsmanship or fair play. In CONIFA matches, green cards work similarly to blue cards. In these games, a player receiving a green card will be sent off for a certain period of time but can be replaced by their team. While green cards have a few different uses, it is a very uncommon type of penalty card.


The most popular materials that penalty cards are made out of are polyurethane and plastic.

  • Polyurethane: Polyurethane is a type of plastic that is commonly used in penalty cards. This material is more durable than generic plastic but also often more expensive.
  • Plastic: Plastic is the generic term for a wide variety of synthetic materials. Plastic is much cheaper and more common than polyurethane but also easier to bend or crease.


The most popular brands that produce penalty cards are Champion Sports, MiaoDuo, and Tandem.

  • Champion Sports: Champion Sports makes various equipment for a wide variety of different sports. They make a set of penalty cards that come with red and yellow cards, and are very cheap.
  • MiaoDuo: MiaoDuo is a brand that exclusively makes referee penalty cards. They make a set with red and yellow cards that also comes with a wallet to hold the cards in.
  • Tandem: Tandem is a company that specializes in producing volleyball and other select sporting goods. They make red and yellow cards which can be used for multiple sports, including soccer. Their cards also come with a carrying wallet.


How much do soccer penalty cards cost?

Penalty cards will usually cost anywhere from $1 to around $7. Some cards can be bought in larger quantities, which makes the overall price more expensive. Other cards will also come with a carrying wallet, which tends to drive up the price.

What size are soccer penalty cards?

Different brands will often make different size penalty cards. However, most penalty cards will usually be around 4” long and 3” wide. They have a similar size to playing cards. 

Why do some leagues use blue and green penalty cards?

Blue cards are mainly used by indoor soccer leagues and are given to a player who commits a minor infraction. Green cards are used by some professional soccer leagues in different ways. Serie B, a league in Italy, uses them to spread messages of good sportsmanship, while other leagues use them similar to blue cards.