Time For UEFA To Introduce Champions League Final Card Amnesty?

Chris Wright

26th, April 2012


By Chris Wright

Would you just look at that? Six players cruelly denied of playing in the biggest games of their club careers for the heinous crime of having picked up three bookings in the dizzying maelstrom of the Champions League knockout phases – John Terry being the only dolt present who actually deserves to miss out given his conduct.

You see, while FIFA introduced an amnesty rule two years ago to ensure that players shown a yellow card in the World Cup semi-finals would not miss out on the final, and UEFA swiftly followed suit in the European Championships.

However, Platini’s mob haven’t yet got around to applying the same rules to the Champions League. Therefore the tournament doesn’t have a yellow-card amnesty after the quarter-finals – meaning players can still rack up that fateful booking over the course of both legs of the penultimate fixture.

Dumb dumb-dumb-dumb dumb.

Christ, it still breaks my heart to see footage of Laurent Blanc lifting the World Cup in his tracksuit bottoms back in 1998 then passing it on down the line almost completely devoid of the manic elation he was entitled to be feeling at that moment.

(To pep your memory; Blanc was red-carded after Slaven Bilic feigned an elbow and went down like a raized tower block in the semis (the first and only dismissal of his entire career) and so, after playing like a demi-god for the entire tournament, Blanc had to sit out the biggie while his compatriots did the business against Brazil in Saint-Denis.)

It’s akin to when Roy Keane and Paul Scholes missed out on all of 1999’s festivities on that balmy night in Barcelona, Darren Fletcher suffering likewise a decade later – along with a fair old smattering of other such unfortunates.

Of course, it’s easy and probably preferable to blame the system and not take personal responsibility for your card-count. You could perhaps argue that someone on the Chelsea staff should’ve informed Branislav Ivanovic of his situation before Sky Sports’ Santa Myth Debunker in Chief Geoff Shreeves took the opportunity.

Indeed, many write it off as ill-disciplined stupidity or sporting misfortune, but that doesn’t make it any less heart-wrenchingly cruel and callous to see a player denied of a Champions League final by such legislation – especially considering some of the prissy things that are deemed yellow-worthy in this day and age.

Bayern’s Luiz Gustavo didn’t commit a yellow-card offence all night in the Bernabeu, he just made Mesut Ozil fall on his arse one too many times; Meireles complained to the referee; Ivanovic was booked for scuffing the penalty spot before Messi’s botched penalty. In short, none of the six committed offences that were worthy of putting them out of the final – except Terry, and even that’s debatable.

UEFA argue that a yellow card amnesty in the latter stages would remove an element of discipline from the last four but these guys have strived for this moment, why rob them of a glorious memory for the sake of a flash of hot-headed dissent or an inadvertent trip?

Seems entirely senseless to me.

What do we think folk? I’m fairly sure I can guess…

Posted in Champions League, Chelsea, FAIL, Opinion

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  1. Coolie says:

    Its 3 bookings in the knockout stages for a suspension

  2. alejandro22 says:

    sepp blatter DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Hey ma, get off tha dang roof! says:

    This system is utter arse. As much as I feel sorry for the six that don’t deserve to miss it, it’s also going to make the game worse to watch. Alaba had been scintillating in the semi finals and Chelsea are always going to miss Ivanovic and Ramires.

  4. Richard Dunne says:

    fair enough for the yellow cards, but terry needs to be banned form entering Germany!

  5. Degs says:

    If you’re a booking away from missing the final, don’t get booked.

    • Chris says:

      Easier said an done these days though Degs, when even as little as a particularly odious fart is liable to be deemed a bookable offence.

  6. MJ says:

    as an austrian i’m absolutely gutted to see alaba miss out on the final, especially considering he did absolutely nothing wrong when that “penalty” was awarded. shameful!

  7. farmanian96 says:

    chris surely u can do something about this……

  8. AMF says:

    Mikel was being an arse and deserved his booking. No idea what Mereiles said to the ref. Gustavo did commit about a million fouls last night though. Alaba is the only one who can feel genuinely aggreived – his booking was absurd.

    As for Terry, how you can say his suspension is debatable is beyond me. He kicked a guy in the back of the leg with the ball 30 yards away. Straight red in any game in any league.

  9. Murray says:

    John Terry and Raul Meireles BOTH deserve to miss out the Final. Terry for being an idiot, Meireles for just plain sucking.

  10. farmanian96 says:

    he didnt kick him…he kneed sanchez in the bum….

  11. Andy says:

    Ivanovic was booked for scuffing up the penalty spot so that Messi could not take the penalty properly. This is serious, actual cheating (not to mention effective, given the resulting miss), more premeditated and intentional than a late tackle, if not as dangerous, equivalent to diving for a penalty or feigning injury to get another player sent off. If Young was to miss the final because he got a yellow card for diving I think everyone would be happy that he got what he deserved. So, given that he knew he was one yellow away from a suspension (or not, as apparently was the case) then it is his own stupidity.

    Also, this nonsense about spectacle… The game will be much less entertaining for not featuring the suspended players, perhaps, but it is definitely a lot less entertaining for not featuring Messi and Ronaldo, so let’s assign them to each team for the night, or just go whole hog and let Barca and Real contest the final, because it’s a better spectacle. Also, why not feature goalies on spacehoppers, shots with a stun gun instead of yellow cards and a live, drugged rhino on the pitch, if all we’re after is spectacle.

  12. Sebastian says:

    Agree completely its ridiculous only a red card should prevent you from playing badstuber was almost in tears yesterday

  13. zack says:

    carry the yellows through until the first leg of the semis so you can miss up to the second leg. Any players red carded in the second leg miss the final.

  14. Andy says:

    Of course, it must be remembered that the only reason yellow cards carry over etc is because they’ve no actual effect in the match itself (unless you get two). If they were accompanied by an actual punishment, such as a sin binning, or halfing your shoelaces tied together then there would be no need for them to carry over at all.

  15. Andy says:

    having, not halfing. bloody dyslexia.

  16. Alex says:

    comment 13 knows. Terry shouldn’t be suspended, he should be sat down and have everyone stare at him, and begging the question… “Why knee someone in the bum?”

  17. WildScotsman6 says:

    been screamin this forever! Couldn’t agree more Chris

  18. Nuno says:

    I believe this happens quite often, and probably most in Britain, as the defender “marking” his presence. I actually believe he and many defenders may have done this a few times in the Prem, as most players there would not go to the ground as Sanchez did (maybe Drogba would), they’d just give the defender an elbow in the next corner or so.
    Because noone believes that knee would’ve hurt that much, that is in no way enough to bring someone down, just Sanchez “made the most of it” (is this sentence already on your shortlist of “hated cliches”, Chris?).
    That being said, I do think the red card is fair, even if only to punish that “agricultural” defender (that is the best word I’ve heard in a while to describe Terry). You can do that against Wolves, nobody will care. You can’t be stupid enough to do that in a CL semi-final with 5 refs watching and 100 cameras around you and some of the best whiners around (Busquets or Dani Alves would still be in the ground today).

  19. jimhanbury says:

    couldn’t agree more. the suspension was fine back in the old days were one wasn’t booked for going to ground and not getting the ball. Gustavo against oezil wa ridiculous. it is took easy to get booked!!!!!! so many wrong and stupid yellow cards. refs need to sort it out.

  20. tonys says:

    The rule goes against the spirit of football….straight red yes. anything else, no.

  21. Nuno says:

    Oh, and totally agree on not getting suspended to the Final on yellows. Many times it depends on the refs mood that day, also agree Gustavo’s yellow shouldn’t get him suspended, the ref was just giving fouls up and down at the slightest touch. Shame such good players will miss the final!

  22. farmanian96 says:

    @alex:all the newspapers said that they kicked in the lower back but it was JTs knee on sanchezs bum :P

  23. farmanian96 says:

    chris u should write a letter to blatter to cancel the bans…….

    • Chris says:

      @Farmanian: Letter? I’m just going wait until Sepp shuffles off to the fiery pits then storm FIFA’s castle, raise the Pies flag and declare myself their new king. First decree: BRING ME THE HEAD OF PLATINI IN A POLYSTYRENE KEBAB CARTON.

  24. Rob says:

    Yellows were introduced to be used only in the game they were given in and that’s the way it should be. UEFA, FIFA. FA they are all clueless. Great to see Terry missing the final though, couldn’t something be done to ban Terry from pretty much everywhere on the planet?

  25. Franz says:

    I would love o see Chelsea make all he Bayern fans cry in their own stadium. A couple might commit suicide which is icing on the cake for me.

  26. pray4muamba says:

    7 players suspended*

  27. Alfred Brown says:

    Here goes. Let the two teams barter. They could agree amongst themselves to allow any number of the banned players to play e.g. they could agree to allow 1 (or 2 or 3) ban(s) each to be overturned, without naming names. No agreement, no deal. And it should only apply to accumulated yellows, red carded players are stil banned. And especially JT because he’s a complete twat. How’s that?

  28. Tom Jones says:

    If you can’t go 14 games without getting 3 yellow cards you deserve to miss out.

  29. dc says:

    “You could perhaps argue that someone on the Chelsea staff should’ve informed Branislav Ivanovic of his situation”

    You dont think he KNEW before the game started!? Shreeves didn’t tell him anything he didn’t know– that was the whole reason why that video was funny. Ivanovic already knew, he responded with “yes,” but Shreeves felt the need to rub it in a bit more

  30. Jimmy Reade says:

    No no no no no no no.

    Why do people forget that actions have consequences? We should forget it because by someone’s metric the game will be more entertaining if all these cheats and gamesmen could play?

    Others have more eloquently put it that most of the bookings if not all were warranted and the bottom line is the referee’s decision is final.

  31. West End Blues says:

    I’m starting to get really pissed off with this whole Ivanovic didn’t know. He did know, Di Matteo discussed it with the press BEFORE the match..

    It seems so harsh given how liberal refs are with yellows in Europe, I bet if you went back and looked at all the bookings that led to the suspensions, the majority would be unnecessary. Yellows are there to disincetivize (horrible americanism)further wrongdoing in a match.

  32. Josefff says:

    ‘Would you just look at that? Six players cruelly denied’
    it’s 7. Clearly a degree in journalism from Nottingham Trent didn’t help you with your editing. you shyster.

    • Chris says:

      Josefff: Nice try, but Terry wasn’t ‘cruelly denied’ because he kneed a guy in the arse. So it’s six.

  33. Chris says:

    Absolutely not.

    Of the six players suspended for yellow card offences, only Alaba has any reason to feel hard-done by.

    Everyone else got cards that were entirely avoidable. Ivanovic and Ramires were both particularly stupid (dissent and a blatant revenge tackle in the center circle? Idiots). They only have themselves to blame. The fact that a bunch of them can’t behave properly doesn’t mean we should be letting them off.

  34. Wesley says:

    Only direct red cards should be suspended for the final. 3 yellows for a slow throw in and your next to John Terry who kneefucked someone in the behind. That seems a little ridiculous to me..

  35. jjautonomous says:



  36. Mr. Sparkle says:


    Like Jimmy Reade says, it’s final and actions must have consequences. Otherwise we’re all pissing on the authority of the ref, which already means so little.

  37. lurker says:

    any change would have to ensure players could not manipulate the process.

  38. MarcosR says:

    @Chris – It’s Ramieres not Mikel who’s going to miss the final, get your facts sorted.

  39. MarcosR says:


  40. CJ says:

    i dont see how anyone can argue that terry shouldnt be banned. yes sanchez went down easy (but lets face it so does everyone these days, refs dont have the balls to act unless a player is on the ground so players fall down.) when was the last time u saw someone get kicked or slapped in the face, stay on his feet and the offender get punished? it doesnt happen! maybe some blame needs to fall on the refs, if they act on all incidents not just ones where someone ends up on the ground this wouldnt happen. as for terry if he is stupid enough to attack someone as he did then he deserves to be banned. he is a grub, hes just not smart enough to get away with it

  41. Ian says:

    Amnesty is a dreadful idea.
    the amount of cheating would simply sky-rocket. the knock-outs would be ruined.
    Every underdog team would play that anti-football deamonic shit we all suffered through in chelsea’s first leg vs. barca.

  42. Anonymous says:

    In the last world cup a player deliberately handled the ball off the line effectively a second goalkeeper. Just to get his team through, imagine how much worse it would be if they had amnesty for a final.

    If there has been a mistake by a referee then it should be rescinded thats the only thing I think should change otherwise they deserve it.

  43. JayDee says:

    Hmmm, Yellow card amnestiy perhaps. Get a red b4 the final (a la Terry) and you are SOL.

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