Red cards can ruin a game of football. When two sides are evenly balanced one player being sent off can give the other team a huge advantage. In a recent game where 36 red cards were shown at least the game remained even as every single player was sent off.
The game took place in the Argentinian 5th division between Claypole and Victoriano Arenas. Argentinian games are notoriously physical and the lower divisions are famous for being difficult for referees to control. This game was all going to plan with only two red cards issued by half time.
In the second half things got much worse. Players were seen diving two-footed at the opposition and it eventually broke into a brawl. All players took part and the coaches and managers also joined in. The referee could no longer control it and the match was abandoned.
In his post-match report the referee noted that 22 players were sent off as well as 14 others, including substitutes, coaches, and managers. However, the Claypole manager says the referee was simply confused. He argues that the majority of people were trying to stop the fighting and that the referee misinterpreted this. He noted that they would appeal the decision. The Victoriano Arenas told a different story saying that he was afraid he would be killed.
While the Claypole manager’s defense is unlikely to be true it will be interesting to see what happens. If both teams lose so many players how will they even field a team for their games next week?
Referee Damian Rubino can be happy with one thing. He now holds the record for the most red cards in a single game achieving the miraculous feat of sending off more people than are actually on the pitch. I think it is safe to assume that it will be a long time before this record is overcome.