I am no soccer expert, as I tend to watch every four years and not much in between. But I wondered yesterday while I watched the game whether the two yellow cards equaling one red (meaning the player is kicked out and the team plays with one less player) makes it harder for the referee to call fouls. That is, if a player already has a yellow, does that lead the ref to then avoid calling a second to avoid upsetting the competitive balance of the game?
Is this a problem much of the time or only when a team is more physical than usual? I don't know, but I doubt that I will be watching that much more soccer in the near future.
That's a great question for empirical study. I strongly suspect that on judgement/marginal calls, that it clearly mitigates against a 2nd yellow.
This judgement effect is most apparent in fouls inside the penalty box. Since the penalty for a foul here is essentially a .8 probability of a goal, typically, you really have to foul to get called in the penalty box. It's a shame, as it leads to unnecessarily rough and defensive play inside the box. Seems to me there needs to be the option of a lesser sanction inside the penalty box.
What I don't get is the offsides rule. In hockey, this is a breakaway. In basketball, a 360 dunk. If you happen to be a millimeter ahead of the defender in soccer, it is the other team's ball. What, someone might score a goal?
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