To be bookedIn this football language post we explain the football phrase ‘to be booked’. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Expression: To be booked

To be booked means to receive a yellow card from the referee. Of course if you have two yellow cards, or a second booking, you are given a red card and are sent off the pitch. You can be booked for all sorts of things: for example, a dangerous tackle, kicking the ball away when the opposing team has been awarded a free-kick, dissent (this means arguing with the referee), or using foul language (swearing, using bad words). We use the phrase because the referee writes the player’s name in his book when he/she gives a card.

  • Example: Players making VAR review ‘TV’ signal to receive yellow cards (to be booked) (ESPN, 28 May 2018)
  • Example: Twenty four players have been booked for fouling Traore already this season – each one brings the threat of injury (Atlantic, December 15 2019)

Related Phrases

Attribution: Jon Candy from Cardiff, Wales / CC BY-SA (

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Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

BEpisode 16