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Could yellow cards mean suspension for Champions League Final 2022?

Liverpool have booked their place in this month’s Champions League final where they will be joined by either Man City or Real Madrid. Are players on bookings at risk of missing the final through suspension?

Manchester City's Fernandinho is booked during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, First Leg, at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2022. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Mike Egerton - PA ImagesGetty

Jürgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool made it through to the 2021/22 Champions League final after beating Europa League champions Villarreal over two legs. Real Madrid and Manchester City will be heading into tonight’s showdown at the Bernabéu both intent on joining them in Paris on 28 May.

The semi-finals of any competition are an exciting time for all concerned, but it’s a stage that comes at you as a hugely contrasting double-sided coin. On one side, it’s smooth, clean and polished, in mint condition. That is for those that qualify for the main event. The other is a rough, dirty and rusty version, one that you’d likely throw away and forget about. Few remember the semi-final losers.

Yellow cards and final suspensions

So to the UEFA Champions League 2022, and the teams who will be battling it out to be crowned European champions in Paris - the French capital coming to the rescue after Vladimir Putin’s actions - and what is at stake. Manchester City may be Ol’ Big Ears virgins but are favourites to make a second successive final over the two legs against the insatiable 13-time winners, Real Madrid. Whoever wins will six-timers Liverpool, into their tenth final and chasing an unprecedented quadruple.

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Often in these situations, and as we’ve seen in the past, players are sometimes walking a fine line going into the semi-finals, especially the second leg, worried about getting a booking that could result in them being suspended for the final. Managers also need to consider whether to bench a key player so as not to risk them losing out, but at the same time balance the importance of their involvement in getting them through.

Well, Guardiola, Ancelotti, and Klopp, along with players and fans, can relax a little. European football’s governing body don’t want some of the best players in the world to be missing for the big day and so while yellow cards are carried over from the group stage to the knockout round, the slate is wiped clean after the quarter finals. A yellow in both semi-final legs will not rule them out of a place in the squad for Paris, as the cumulative three cannot be reached.

Even if Virgil van Dijk, who picked up a booking in the first leg against Villarreal at Anfield, had gone into the book at Estadio de la Cerámica, he still be would be suspension-free for the final.

As for Real Madrid and Man City, Nacho and Fernandinho were the only players to be issued yellow cards in last week’s first leg - again, both will be available for the final - if they team qualifies and they are not sent off in the return.

Here’s how UEFA explain it:

  • In accordance with Article 52.04 of the official competition regulations, all yellow cards expired on the completion of the quarter-finals. This means no player can miss the final by virtue of picking up three cautions which did not result in a red card.

Of course, players will want to be careful to avoid getting sent off in the second leg as that will mean a one-match suspension, so careful with those reckless tackles, lads.