Sorry, but what kind of penalty is that? What does going in the referee's little black book actually mean?
Apparently, not much. A yellow card is a 'caution' that is issued to the player concerned. That's it, merely a caution. In Rugby Union, a player that is yellow carded is sent to the 'Sin Bin', for 10 minutes, temporarily reducing the team by 1, which in other sports is sometimes refered to as a "Power Play".
On this day, there were 5 Premier League matches in England. Between those 5 games, there were 17 yellow cards and 2 red cards. Now one of those reds was a straight red card, and upon viewing the footage, even that seemed harsh. The Scottish Premiership saw 2 matches today, one of which had no yellow or red cards, the other had 5 yellows and no reds. 7 top flight games in the UK, and between them all, 22 yellow cards and 2 red cards.
In the English Premier League today, one team, Southampton, had 5 yellow cards issued against them. That's almost half a team in the referee's book. It's not as bad as an infamous match in the 2006 World Cup when Portugal and the Netherlands were issued 16 yellow cards between them and 4 players got yellow carded twice and got sent off.
It seems that cautions mean nothing. Maybe it is time to change what a yellow card actually means in Football.
Now there are two possible options. One is to make a yellow card mean the same as it does in Rugby Union, 10 minutes in a penalty box or sin bin for the player shown the card, temporarily reducing the team strength by 1. Such a move would stop the cynical fouls that result in bookings that prevent what look to be potential goals. It would also make players think twice before making silly challenges as your team being down a player for 10 minutes is more of a penalty, than a mere caution. Upon a second yellow card, it would still become a red and a sending off for the duration of the game.
The other, is to separate the yellow card and red card offences, in other words two yellows would not be an automatic red card, and have various penalties, probably various cards, for differing lengths of time in the 'Sin Bin'. You could have three levels of penalty, worth 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes depending on how serious the foul was, and the red card would still mean sending off.
I like both thoughts, and to be honest, either one would have more of a deterrent effect than a mere caution.