Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

Why Do Footballers Get Banned?

Markus Dallarosa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Football is a beautiful game, but sometimes players can find themselves on the wrong side of the rules. Whether it’s on or off the field, there are several reasons why footballers can get banned from playing. In this article, we will explore the different ways players can find themselves in trouble and discuss some high-profile examples.

On-Field Actions

Steindy (talk) 13:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most obvious reasons for a player to get banned is their on-field behavior. If players break the rules or receive multiple yellow cards in a match, they can be shown a red card and receive a one-match ban. Additionally, accumulating six yellow cards over a period of time can also result in a one-match ban. Serious misconduct, such as violent conduct, can lead to a three-match ban. The ban usually applies to the competition in which the offense occurred.

Retrospective Action

Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes, match officials may miss incidents during a game, and footage review becomes necessary. The Football Association can review incidents and decide if a player deserves a ban. A high-profile example is Luis Suarez, who was banned for multiple biting incidents. In 2014, Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match, resulting in a four-month ban from all football-related activities.

Off-Field Incidents

James Adams, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Football associations can also punish players for off-field incidents that bring the game into disrepute. Rio Ferdinand, for example, received an eight-month ban for missing a drugs test. Kolo Toure failed a drugs test after taking his wife’s slimming tablets, resulting in a six-month ban. Other players, such as Mark Bosnich and Adrian Mutu, faced bans due to drug-related issues.

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Bizarre Bans

Joey Barton - thetelf, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the years, football associations have issued bans for various bizarre reasons. Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita, for instance, was unable to play for his country while serving a seven-month jail sentence for assisting with a kidnapping. Joey Barton has faced multiple bans for violent conduct, including assaulting his teammate during training and a bad tackle with subsequent violent behavior.


Q: Can players appeal against bans?
A: Yes, players have the right to appeal bans if they believe they have been wrongly punished. The appeal process involves presenting evidence and arguments to contest the ban.

Q: Are bans consistent across different football associations?
A: Bans can vary depending on the rules and regulations of each specific association. However, certain actions, such as violent conduct or drug-related offenses, are generally treated seriously across associations.

Q: Can a ban affect a player’s career prospects?
A: Yes, a ban can have significant consequences for a player’s career, impacting their playing opportunities, reputation, and potential transfer prospects.


Footballers can receive bans for various reasons, from on-field misconduct to off-field incidents. It is essential for players to adhere to the rules and uphold the integrity of the game. By respecting the regulations, players can avoid bans and contribute to the beauty and fair play of football.

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