Boost for Scotland and Wales as FIFA wipes bookings ahead of World Cup play-offs

Steve Clarke and Robert Page had both called for an amnesty over bookings picked up in qualifying.

Phil Blanche
Monday 17 January 2022 14:54
Players have had their group stage bookings removed (Florian Schrotter/PA)
Players have had their group stage bookings removed (Florian Schrotter/PA)

Scotland and Wales have received a World Cup play-off boost with FIFA removing all yellow cards picked up in qualifying.

Both Scotland boss Steve Clarke and Wales counterpart Robert Page had called for bookings to be wiped clean after securing their place in the play-offs in November.

FIFA has now decided to introduce a yellow-card amnesty for the 12 European nations involved in the March play-offs, which could see Scotland and Wales meet to determine a place at this year’s World Cup.

Wales star Aaron Ramsey had been at risk of missing a potential play-off final to qualify for the 2022 World Cup (David Davies/PA)

A Football Association of Wales spokesman said: “Following a request from UEFA, FIFA has decided to cancel all cautions that have not resulted in a sending-off prior to the play-offs of the preliminary competition to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

Wales manager Robert Page backed Clarke’s call for a play-off amnesty on yellow cards in November, saying: “I fully support it. Absolutely.

“I see it especially from Scotland’s point of view because they had six teams in their group and had more games to play.

“If we can influence a change we absolutely will.”

Wales had seven players walking a disciplinary tightrope – Aaron Ramsey Chris Gunter, Harry Wilson, James Lawrence, Joe Allen, Kieffer Moore and Sorba Thomas – with a semi-final booking ruling them out of a potential final.

Scott McTominay was among eight Scotland players who had been one booking away from missing a potential play-off final (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Joe Morrell’s suspension after picking up a second caution in the November draw against Belgium still stands.

Scotland had eight players – Andy Robertson, Billy Gilmour, Che Adams, Jack Hendry, John McGinn, Kevin Nisbet, Scott McTominay and Stephen O’Donnell – one booking away from missing the play-off final were they to get there.

Wales and Scotland were paired in the same play-off path when the draw was made at the end of November.

The Dragons will host Austria in one semi-final, with Scotland at home to Ukraine in the other on March 24.

Wales or Austria will have home advantage against Scotland or Ukraine five days later with the winner qualifying for Qatar.

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