This post explains how the word ‘harsh’ is used in football.
The adjective ‘harsh‘ is often used when talking about when yellow or red cards are given. A referee has to decide when to award a foul, a yellow card, or a red card. If most people watching disagree wit the referee, they may say the decision was harsh – it means the referee chose a severe option when most people would not have done so. So, a phrase like ‘the yellow card was harsh‘ means the speaker thinks the referee was severe and even unfair – maybe 8 out of 10 people wouldn’t have given a yellow card. We can also use it as an adverb, ‘the player was harshly red-carded‘.
Example:A harsh red card for Gary Cahill in the 14th minute led to a tactical reshuffle.
Example: Zidane confirms Real Madrid to appeal Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘harsh’ red card against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup