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Yellow and red cards have been part and parcel of football for decades now, so the sight of a white card will look bizzare to pretty much every football fan.
A football referee creates history as she gives out the first-ever white card in football. With what seemed to be just a normal football match, an unexpected white card was awarded by one of the referees in charge of the Sporting Lisbon vs Benfica game on January 22, 2023.
We know that everyone who watches football has gotten used to the referee being able to hand out yellow and red cards for any offense players commit during matches, which was implemented over 50 years ago at the 1970 World Cup.
The “white card,” though, is a new card available to the referees.
Now for the women’s game between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, it was shown as appreciation to the medical personnel of both teams, who rushed out to the pitch after a woman complained of feeling ill. The medical teams from both sides united and tried to assist the women in question.
Medical staff from both teams quickly went to their aid with referee Catarina Campos showing it to members of both sides' medical teams, prompting a warm reception from fans.
What is a white card in football?
Unlike yellow and red cards, which punish teams for breaking football's rules, white cards are designed to recognise and praise clubs for fair play.
The white card provides immediate recognition for a positive act during a football match.
What has the response been?
Much like the extra stoppage time seen at the World Cup, the white card has received a somewhat mixed reaction on social media.
Many people responded with praise, showing their appreciation for what the card represents.
However, others couldn't quite see the point of what is essentially a symbolic gesture.
Could we see it in the Indian football and its league?
It is unlikely that we will see the card brought in to Indian Football and its league anytime soon. The initiative isn't widespread just yet and is currently consigned to Portugal, but it's part of a wider series of new introductions in football.