YELLOW AND RED CARDS
If referee Ken Aston (right) hadn’t gone for a drive in 1966, cautions could have been communicated using smoke signal. Or something...
LIGHTING IT UP
After Argentina captain Antonio Rattin was controversially sent off against England at the 1966 World Cup, and confusion over whether Jack Charlton had got booked, referee chief Ken Aston had a brainwave while stuck at a set of traffic lights in London.
“WAIT THERE, KEN…”
“As the light turned red,” Aston – who had officiated the Battle of Santiago between Italy and Chile in 1962 – later explained, “I thought, ‘Yellow, take it easy; red, stop, you’re off’.” Once he was back home, his wife Hilda cut out two bits of card for him.
Football had to wait four years for the introduction of the card system, at the 1970 World Cup. Soviet Union defender Evgeny Lovchev was shown the game’s first ever yellow card after only 40 minutes of the tournament opener with host nation Mexico.
English football didn’t embrace cards until 1976, but in January 1981 the FA did away with red ones, believing “demonstrative referees” were contributing to an increase in violence on and off the field. FIFA reversed the “out of step” decision in 1987.