Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

The Green Card: Promoting Fair Play in Football

fifa green card

We’re all familiar with yellow and red cards in football, but did you know there’s also a green card? This unique card aims to promote fair play and ethical values on the pitch. Let’s explore what the green card entails and its impact on the game.

A New Addition to the Football Scene

In January, a referee made history by brandishing a white card during a match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica. This card was introduced to acknowledge fair play in football, with the hope of fostering a greater sense of ethics within the sport.

Introducing the Green Card

In June 2018, the green card made its debut during the CONIFA World Football Cup, a tournament for non-FIFA affiliated international teams. During a match, a player was shown the green card by the referee, resulting in their immediate dismissal from the field.

According to CONIFA regulations, a player who receives a green card must leave the pitch right away. However, they can be replaced if their team has not used all of their substitutes. It’s important to note that receiving a green card does not exclude the player from participating in their team’s next match.

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Addressing Dissent in the Game

Paul Watson, the tournament organizer, spoke to Sky Sports about the purpose behind the green card. He highlighted the need to address the issue of dissent and lack of respect for referees in football. The green card serves as a tool to discourage such behavior without severely penalizing players.

Jens Jockel, CONIFA’s Asia President, further emphasized the practicality of the green card. It provides a middle ground to sanction actions that may not warrant a red card but still require disciplinary measures. Instances like using inappropriate language or showing disrespect to spectators and coaches can now be addressed effectively.

Your Thoughts?

The introduction of the green card has sparked discussions within the football community. Do you believe it is a good idea? How do you think it can contribute to fair play and sportsmanship? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Q: When was the green card first used?
A: The green card was first used during the CONIFA World Football Cup in June 2018.

Q: What happens when a player receives a green card?
A: If a player receives a green card, they must immediately leave the field of play. However, they can be replaced if their team has available substitutes.

Q: Is a player excluded from the next match after receiving a green card?
A: No, receiving a green card does not disqualify a player from participating in their team’s next match.


The green card represents a unique addition to the world of football. By acknowledging fair play and promoting ethical values, it aims to foster a greater sense of respect and sportsmanship on the field. As the use of the green card continues to evolve, it is crucial to evaluate its effectiveness in encouraging positive behavior among players and maintaining the integrity of the game.

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Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/CONIFA