In soccer/football, the indicator that a certain player is to leave the field and may not be replaced for the course of a match. Red cards are given out for flagrant fouls, generally with intent to injure an opposing player, for an intentional hand ball to prevent a goal, or for receiving two yellow cards.*


*In some low-level leagues, like the Virginia High School League, a "two-yellow replace" rule is used. This means that a player receiving a red card automatically as a result of incurring two yellows may be replaced.
In fencing, a red card is a penalty touch--when a fencer receives a red card, his opponent gains a point.

For less serious offenses, a red card is only given after a fencer has already received a yellow card earlier in the bout. Thereafter, a red card is given for each time that fencer breaks a rule in that group. For other penalties, a red card is given on the first offense and on each additional offense. For yet other penalties, a red card is given only on the first offense, and on the second that fencer receives a black card.

The most common things a fencer can do to earn a red card (on the first offense) include the absence of weapon inspection marks, disturbing order on the strip, and refusal to salute one's opponent before the start of the bout.

See the Fencing Penalty Chart for more info.

In the world of prescribed burns, a red card is the certification that someone is fully trained and capable of participating in burns. You will qualify for a red card if you take the basic-32 training series, and pass a physical test on the 'strenuous' level. (it's not really that bad, and is just designed so that if you're put on the fireline, you can take care of yourself.) The most common option is walking 3 miles with 40 pounds of weight in 45 minutes, but options for a running test, or a 'step test', are also sometimes available

In Phoenix, AZ a red card was a minor badge of coolness handed out by KUPD, the local butt rock radio station, to its loyal listeners. The KUPD Red Card entitled the bearer to various discounts at head shops, record stores, and other business establishments at the center of the stoner universe. During my junior high years in the early 1980s, nearly every teen and preteen who wore a mullet and a flimsy, elbow-length heavy metal concert t-shirt was a proud red cardholder.

In the world of high school extracurricular activities, a red card was a penalty placed on students who were failing a class that week and were therefore ineligible for that weekend's activity, be it a game, match, debate, trip, concert, or anything else. Yes, even the kids in the marching band had to be passing their classes or they'd be pulled from the show. My little brother saw a gem of an opportunity in this rule, and used it to get out of drumming at jazz ensemble concerts when he didn't like the music they'd be performing. All he'd have to do is wait until Monday to turn in his homework, and he'd have an iron-clad excuse to miss the concert.

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