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La Liga’s 5.36 Cards per Match Are the Highest Across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues

Edith Muthoni
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When it comes to world-class football, the Spanish La Liga offers a spectacle that is tough to match. The league is home to some of the world’s most iconic and beloved footballers. And the style of play is renowned for its creativity, fluidity, and excitement. Add its electric atmosphere in the stands, and you have the perfect recipe for a must-watch for football enthusiasts worldwide.

That said, the league has been gaining a bad rap recently. Available data indicates it is the “dirtiest” league across Europe’s elite football competitions. Per a Safebettingsites.com report, La Liga’s 5.36 Cards per match are the highest across Europe’s top-5 leagues.

The site has presented data showing that the Spanish league’s 1220 matches between January 2020 and March 2023 drew an average of 5.08 yellow cards and 0.28 red cards/match, the highest in the continent. Following in the second spot was the Italian Serie A with an average of 4.95 cards/game (4.71 yellow and 0.24 red).

The French Ligue 1 wrapped the top 3 spots with 4.81 cards/game (3.89 yellow and 0.29 red). Meanwhile, the English Premier League was the most disciplined of the five. It recorded an average of 3.49 cards/game over 1211 matches. Of these, 3.37 were yellow cards, while 0.12 were red.

La Liga’s Cards Conundrum

La Liga’s card situation has been a hotly contested topic in Spain. Many clubs, including Sevilla, have spoken out against the league’s refereeing body. They claim that the referees are too quick to give cards compared to other European leagues. The concerns have grown following revelations that the league has recorded over 100 red cards for the first time since 2015.

These revelations have drawn swift reactions from other stakeholders within the football fraternity. One of them is football pundit Edith Reads. She insists that physicality has been a part of Spanish Football’s identity, but it should not come at the cost of fair play.

La Liga has always been a league of passion, where the intensity and drama of the game are felt in every moment. But with this level of physicality, there’s a need to ensure that all stakeholders uphold the spirit of fair play and respect for the game. Above all, it’s vital that the players’ safety is assured.”

Protecting Players Remains a Priority

As the controversy rages, the Spanish referee’s body has stuck by its officials. In a quick rejoinder to the growing criticism, the body’s head Luis Medina Cantalejo held that protecting footballers remains a priority. To that end, he argued match officials would do anything, even if it meant issuing more red cards than other leagues.

The official insisted that the match officials had reduced injuries due to violent challenges in the league. Available data corroborate his assertion, with the league recording the least injuries (345) in Europe.

The EPL and Bundesliga, which had the least expulsions, led in the injury count, registering 581 and 615 of them, respectively.


Edith Muthoni

I'm Edith. As a content writer, I love nothing more than getting my teeth into a good piece of writing - especially if it's about football! I'm also something of a betting and sports enthusiast, so you'll often find me down at the bookies or glued to the TV on a Saturday afternoon. When I'm not writing or watching sport, I like to spend time with my friends and family.

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