Soccer Persistent Infringement

Soccer Persistent Infringement

Persistent infringement in soccer is an offense that occurs when a player commits multiple, repeated fouls, or when several fouls are committed by several different players against a single opponent. The persistent infringement offense exists to discourage players and teams from degrading the quality of the game by repeatedly breaking the rules.


Persistent infringement is a cautionable offense in soccer that occurs when a player repeatedly commits fouls or other infractions throughout the course of the match. Persistent infringement can also occur when multiple infractions are committed against a single opponent by several different players on the same team. 

When a player commits a foul or other minor infraction during a game, it is typically punished by a free kick being awarded to the non-offending team. More severe infractions will result in a caution (yellow card) or an ejection (red card), depending on the severity, in addition to a free kick being awarded. Any player who receives a second caution in the same match will automatically be shown the red card and ejected. Persistent infringement is one of the eight offenses which is punishable as a cautionable offense. The rule is designed to give referees a tool to punish players who diminish the integrity and pace of the game through repeated minor fouls. It is also designed to discourage players and teams from continuing to commit fouls after one has already occurred and to discourage targeting a single player by committing repeated fouls against them.

Persistent infringement is an offense that is rarely called by referees, with many more instances occurring than those that are actually cautioned as offenses. The rule can be difficult to enforce, as it requires referees to mentally keep track of the number and frequency of fouls committed by and against each player. Calling a player or team for this offense requires a subjective judgment by the referee. There is no minimum number of fouls that must be committed to qualify as persistent infringement


The result of a persistent infringement offense being called is the offender being cautioned and shown a yellow card. If a player is cautioned twice in a match, they will be shown a red card and ejected. The result of persistent infringement is the same in both amateur and professional leagues, according to the IFAB Laws of the Game. However, this offense is rarely called, and enforcement can vary from league to league.

Referee Signal

Soccer Persistent Infringement Referee Signal

When persistent infringement is called, a referee will first blow their whistle to stop play and signal that a foul has occurred. Next, they will signal for either an indirect free kick, a direct free kick, or a penalty kick, depending on the type of foul. The referee will next indicate the location of the foul. Finally, the referee will walk over to the offending player, pull the yellow card out of their pocket, and show it to the offender.


  • A player commits a charging foul, a pushing foul, and an impeding progress foul. All three fouls occur within a ten-minute span. Persistent infringement has occurred.
  • Over the course of the match, a player commits four fouls, all of them resulting in free kicks. The referee gives the player a verbal warning, but then that player commits another foul before the end of the play. Persistent infringement has occurred.
  • Within a span of only five minutes, a single player has a striking foul, a holding foul, and a tackling foul committed against them. These three fouls are all committed by different opponents. Nonetheless, persistent infringement has occurred.

Similar Misconducts to Persistent Infringement

  • Delaying of Game
  • Dissent
  • Unsporting Behavior
  • Failing to Respect the Required Distance
  • Leaving the Field of Play Without the Referee’s Permission
  • Entering the Referee Review Area


What is persistent infringement in soccer?

Persistent infringement in soccer is a cautionable offense that occurs when a player commits repeated fouls or acts of misconduct during a match. Persistent infringement also occurs when multiple members of a team commit a series of repeated fouls against a single opponent. There is no minimum number of fouls that must occur for persistent infringement to be called. Referees are responsible for keeping track of the number of fouls that occur and making a subjective judgment to enforce this rule.

What are the consequences of being called for persistent infringement in soccer?

The consequences of being called for persistent infringement in soccer are being cautioned and having a free kick awarded to your opponent. Being cautioned involves a referee showing the offender a yellow card, letting all players and fans know the offender is one caution away from being ejected from the game. Once a player has been shown one yellow card, committing a second cautionable offense will result in them being shown a red card, immediately ejected, and forced to serve a minimum one-game suspension.

What is an infringement in soccer?

An infringement in soccer is the act of violating or breaking one of the laws of the game. Most infringements are fouls, however, acts of misconduct are also infringements. The difference is that fouls are committed on the field, during play, against an opponent, while misconduct is committed off the field, when play is stopped, or against a teammate or referee. Thus, both fouls and acts of misconduct are infringements; it is the referee’s job to enforce and penalize all infringements.