Referee Issues First Green Card At Football Match
The first green card has been issued by a referee in a football match.
No, not the type that earns you citizenship in America, this card is issued to a player when they have committed an offence that's somewhere between a red and yellow card. However, it's traditionally shown when players lose their rag with the referee.
The card was shown for the first time in a CONIFA World Football Cup match in London on Saturday.
CONIFA rules state that: "a player who receives a green card must leave the field of play immediately, but can be replaced if his team have not used all of their substitutes. A player receiving a green card is not excluded from his team's next match."
The first round of group games on Thursday failed to produce the card, but finally on Saturday it was shown: Raymond Mashamba, who was the referee officiating the Group C match between Padania and Tuvalu at Haringey's Coles Park, showed the new green card twice early in the second half; first he felt obliged to show it to a Tuvalu midfielder, and then to Padania's Stefano Baldan.
Organiser of the competition Paul Watson said via Sky Sports: "We'd really like to clamp down on the dissent problem. Football has a problem with the lack of respect for referees.
"That's not to say that isn't also the case in CONIFA games - the players in our tournament still have those traits.
"But it would be nice that, instead of it being ignored and therefore in a way condoned, it shouldn't necessarily cost someone their chance to play at this tournament, if they just lose their cool."
While Jens Jockel, CONIFA's Asia President, also welcomed the new green card. He said via Sky Sports:
"We have had some minor problems in the past, with some red cards at the end of a game - mostly when teams realised they can't keep up and find themselves losing heavily with 10 minutes left," he explained.
"It's a really good idea of how to sanction things that might not be worthy of a red card. More like personal mistakes - using swear words, disrespecting spectators and coaches and so on. It's a perfect way to find something in between."
Do you think the green card is a good idea? Let us know in the comments section.