Are you confused about black, red, and yellow cards in badminton? This badminton rules article will give you up-to-date information about the rules, regulations, and consequences of receiving a yellow, red, or black card in badminton.

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What’s the punishment for an on-court fight?

Video source: The Guardian.

Thailand’s Bodin Issara was given a black card after chasing down and physically hitting compatriot Maneepong Jongjit. This happened during the final at the Canada Open in 2013.

The two Thai doubles players competed as a pair at the London 2012 Olympics but later split up. In the Canada Open final, they faced each other with their respective new double partners. Bodin Issara was penalized with a black card and disqualified.

The consequence: On July 21, 2013, Bodin was suspended for two years. Full story here

The Yellow card in Badminton

We will start with the least significant card in badminton, the Yellow card. The yellow penalty card can be given to any player as a warning for misconduct (in-game faults are not misconduct). As the Umpires are allowed to talk to players they very often give them multiple verbal cautions before they issue a yellow card. This is likely to be a repeat offense that a player makes during a single match however an umpire can give a yellow card directly if they choose.

The Yellow card has no impact on the points of the game but does serve the purpose of deterring the player from continuing with the misconduct. Though it will not affect the match, in professional badminton, the player will be fined by the BWF.

What if the same player breaches a different rule? Even if the breach is different – from the one they received the first yellow card for – they will receive a red card for the second offense.

What if the player didn’t know the rule? Unfortunately for them, this is not seen as an acceptable excuse. The umpire can still give the player the yellow card even without a caution first. So make sure to be nice and smile at your next umpire!

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The Red card in Badminton

A red card in badminton is given when a player commits a continued breach of misconduct or a significant breach of misconduct. This results in the offending side losing the active rally and the opponent receiving a point. The Umpire if they wish could caution again with a red card. The umpire has full authority to decide what is red card worthy during a match.

Do you think this was red card worthy?

The Black card in Badminton

This is the real deal in badminton misconduct. A player will receive a black card for excessive misconduct. The black card will follow a red card for significant breaches of misconduct that bring the game into disrepute (behaviour that makes the sport look bad).

The result of a black card?

Immediate disqualification from the match and competition. According to the BWF statute, if this happens in a team competition, or a group-based competition, they will be removed from the competition entirely and not allowed to continue. Although not specifically said, if a doubles player receives a black card in mixed doubles they will be removed from the whole tournament if they play single or mixed doubles.

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The Badminton Fans Opinion

In badminton, it is generally accepted that umpires will do everything possible to warn the player instead of giving them a card. Instead, they give verbal cautions. We often see umpires speak to the same players about the same offense throughout matches without any cards being shown.

There is certainly criticism over a lack of consistency in the umpiring of badminton matches. Umpires are given authority to manage games however they see fit – which is then subject to each umpire’s opinion and perception of the rules. Below are some common behaviors that are deemed as misconduct in badminton.

This story about badminton lingo might interest you

Misconduct in badminton

  • Delaying the game to receive coaching.
  • Delaying the game to recover.
  • Purposefully delaying the game to disrupt the opponent. (Normally when serving or receiving service)
  • Leaving the court during games without the permission of the umpire.
  • Tampering with the shuttle in any way.
  • Making any gesture towards an opponent. (Clenching a fist toward the opponent is commonly a breach)
  • Celebrating too much is included in unsportsmanlike conduct!
  • Purposefully breaking a racket.
  • Throwing a racket in any direction.
  • Intimidating an umpire, service judge, line judge, or referee.
  • Shouting during points is considered an attempt to distract your opponent, especially calls of in or out.
  • Actions interfering with your opponent’s ability to continue a rally such as reaching over or under the net.
  • Contaminating the playing surface with sweat or similar actions.
  • A mobile phone being present or going off at the courtside.
  • There is no mention of misconduct for deliberate or unusual playing patterns :-).


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