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What is the review signal in soccer? Definition, Referee Signal

Soccer Excessive Use Of Review Signal

Excessively using the review (TV screen) signal is an offense that soccer players commit by repeatedly making the referee hand signal for a VAR review. This signal is only legally made by referees and is performed by drawing a square in the air using both pointed index fingers.


Excessively using the review (TV screen) signal is a cautionable offense committed when a player repeatedly makes a specific hand signal toward a referee to pressure that referee into requesting a VAR review. The process for requesting and performing a VAR review is subject to restrictions outlined in the Laws of the Game.

In particular, only an on-field referee may request a VAR review only to confirm a decision they have already made. Also, only some referee decisions may be reviewed, including goals, penalties, direct red cards, and mistaken identity.

As referees are the only ones permitted to request VAR reviews, a player making the review signal will not cause a review to happen. However, if a player (or players) repeatedly implores a referee to request a review by making the review signal, they may undermine that referee’s authority and ability to control the game. Thus, the excessive using the review signal offense was created to punish this gesture like any other action that degrades the quality of the game.


The result of excessively using the review signal being called is the offender receiving a caution and a yellow card. If this is the second caution the offender has received in a match, they will instead be shown a red card and ejected. This result is the same in both professional and amateur leagues, as the laws of the game dictated by the IFAB are followed at all levels of soccer.

Referee Signal

When an excessive using the review signal foul is called, the referee will whistle to stop play if necessary, though this foul is usually called during a stoppage. Next, they will point straight up in the air to signal an indirect free kick unless a more severe foul has occurred, in which case they will signal a direct free kick or penalty kick. Finally, the referee will walk up to the offender and show them the yellow card to issue the caution.


  • A foul is called on a player while inside the penalty area. That player pleads with the referee to request a VAR review while making the review signal. The referee gives the player a verbal warning, yet a few minutes later the player makes the review signal again in response to another decision.
  • Throughout a match, a player disagrees with several of the referees’ calls, frequently making the review signal.
  • A substitute player enters play and immediately begins questioning the referees by repeatedly making the review signal in response to their calls.