What's the Correct AYSO Answer?
The following is a commonly asked question regarding referees:
"In a U-16 girls game, a fight started behind my back between red #3 and blue #16. When I turned, both players were on the ground. My Assistant Referee (AR) told me that blue #16 pushed red #3 without any provocation and then both players started fighting. I separated the players and after checking with my ARs, I decided to send off both of them. I went over to both benches and told the coaches that I was ejecting the two players, but I didn’t show them the red card. Both players walked away from the field and I finished the game. The next day the coach for the blue team challenged my send off decision to the Region administration saying that his player didn’t start the fight and was upset I didn’t show the red card to red #3. Does the coach have a valid request?”
A player, substitute or substituted player who is cautioned or sent off during the match is shown the yellow or red card, as appropriate. The red card is used to communicate that a player, substitute or substituted player has been sent off. By not showing the players the red card when you send them off, you created a challenge for the competition administrators because both coaches could have challenged your report.
Hopefully the administrators held up your decision on the send off of both players, but they probably had to spend time and resources to demonstrate to the coach the facts that justified the send off. In order to help make the job easy for the administrators and inform everyone during the match, please show the cards, yellow and red as appropriate, when you caution or send off players.