Champions League suspension rules

Written by george de bloekwurst
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Champions League suspension rules
Red card suspension for UEFA matches. (Getty editorial images)

The suspension rules of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League are based upon player conduct on and off the field. Players are subject to discipline for any violations of the Laws of the Game, as set forth by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The punishments have no bearing on a player's eligibility in other competitions, and punishments from other leagues do not affect Champions League eligibility.

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Yellow and red cards

A player who receives two yellow cards in a match is sent off the field and suspended from the next match. A player who is given a straight red card for a bad foul is automatically suspended a minimum of one game, but additional punishments from the Control and Disciplinary Body can be added, depending on the severity of the foul. Accumulating multiple yellow cards in multiple matches can also result in additional discipline. Any punishment that has not been served by the end of the season expires; it has no bearing on a player's eligibility for the next year's competition.

Suspension rules for different stages

In the qualifying stage, a player who receives two yellow cards in two separate matches, or four overall, is suspended for the subsequent game. If the qualifying stage ends and the punishment has not been served, it will roll over into the next phase of the competition. However, if the single yellow card has not resulted in disciplinary action during the qualifying stage, it will not follow the player into the next round. The group stage rules allow for a suspension to occur if a player receives three cautions in three different matches.

Player misconduct

Player misconduct can result in longer suspensions. A minimum of a two-match suspension can be given to any player who insults the referee or tries to undermine the competition by deceiving an official into making an incorrect decision. Any player who assaults another player or person present is subject to a three-match suspension. This increases to a five-match suspension if it is a serious assault, or a ten-match suspension if an official is assaulted. All of these penalties for misconduct are subject to an extension by the Control and Disciplinary Body.

Doping violations

Any players caught violating UEFA's anti-doping regulations are subject to a minimum two-year suspension (for first-time offenders). A player who misses a test or has a filing failure will be given a minimum one-year suspension, with a maximum of two years, depending on their level of culpability. Repeated violators are subject to additional penalties, including the possibility of a lifetime ban from Champions League and any other UEFA-sponsored competitions.

Protest and appeals

Teams are allowed to file a protest of a suspension, as long as they do so in writing within 24 hours of the match and pay a fee of approximately £617. Teams are not allowed to protest a decision made by a referee against a player, unless an error occurred where the wrong player was identified and unjustly punished. A player is allowed to appeal any decisions made by the Control and Disciplinary Body with regards to the length of a suspension. The Appeals Board grants the player up to two oral hearings presided over by a judge, who can choose to accept the original sentence, amend it or revoke it entirely.

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