Louis Blake, who plays for AFC Croydon Athletic, made his debut from the bench 66 minutes into the club’s FA Cup qualifier against Colliers Wood on Saturday.
But Blake, 21, was wearing black underwear, which contravenes strict FA rules which state "if thermal undershorts are worn, they must be of the same main colour as the shorts".
Croydon wear maroon. That posed a problem for the referee, who spotted the black pants in the 86th minute and asked Blake to change his underwear.
Blake, who did not have a change of pants, claims he advised the ref that he would have to play without any, and that the referee ordered him to remove the offending garment anyway.
When Blake returned to the pitch, the referee asked him to prove he had changed the underwear – but when the player showed him, a red card was brandished.
"I was gobsmacked, I was shocked and I was angry," Blake told the Croydon Advertiser. "I just pulled my shorts forward a bit to show him there was nothing there and he gave me a red.
"How else am I meant to prove I've got nothing on down there?
"All I wanted to do was make a good impression on my debut and now I'm probably going to have to miss three games.”
This is not the first time such an incident has occurred – indeed, there was a mass dismissal during a 2011 FA Youth Cup match between Newport County and Bath City’s youngsters, with five Bath players and a manager were sent off after the ref noticed that their white cycling shorts did not match their red away shorts.
Rules are rules, but the word 'jobsworth' springs to mind.