White Card: The Revolutionary Change that is Proposed for World Soccer

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The white card is a new mechanism that is being tested in Portugal and Spain, which seeks to promote fair play in soccer. We tell you more about this new initiative.

Referee with the white card

Photo: TW oddspedia

LatinAmerican Post | Daniel González Guerrero

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The rules in soccer are governed by cards, which arrived many years ago and stayed to control the environment and justice during all commitments. However, as the decades passed, new tools came along to help referees, changes that generated several positive aspects for the growth of the sporting event.

The card that would change everything

That is why, in addition to having the yellow and red cards, the referees of Spain and Portugal are dabbling with the birth of a new card, which would change the way of viewing this sport, since this would be to promote fair play during matches and would not only be shown to the players.

You can also read: How much do Soccer Referees in Europe and Latin America Earn?

Since 2014, the creation of this new initiative has been promoted in the minor divisions in Portugal, in order to see how the referees are consolidating this important change. Noticing the growth of fair play since the arrival of this new card, the European country began to use this new rule in professional soccer in the year 2023.

José Lima, coordinator of the National Plan for Ethics in Sport (PNED) of Portugal, explains that, with the arrival of this new card, it seeks to reward fair play in all the people participating in this sport. Likewise, if this idea is materialized, the bad image that cards have in soccer would be cut, since currently they are only used to punish.

On the other hand, Lima made it clear that soccer and any other sport in the world has to find the necessary tools to promote pedagogy and sportsmanship. This is why, for several years, they have been working to generate a change of mentality in all the people who become part of these sporting events.

In one of his last interventions, Lima commented that “The white card is an educational card, which aims to value the positive gesture in the game. Many times what is talked about is the negative, the more punitive dimension of the red and the yellow, and the intrigues that exist in the game, for which the white card tries to counteract it by rewarding the positive”.

Spanish origins

It should be noted that this sports project had its beginnings in Spain in 2013, which began to be used in various minor division tournaments. Seeing the great reception of this new tool, the Portuguese managers decided to adapt this new standard, so that this year it began to be put into practice in professional competitions.

The great reception that this new card had generated great changes in European sports, since, not only is soccer being introduced, but other important sports in Portugal have begun to use it. This valuable change generated a change in the thinking of all athletes and spectators in these competitions.

A card for all

One of the great changes that would be generated with the establishment of this new card, is that no one would be immune to it, since the main idea is that the white cardboard can be shown to players, coaches, individually and collectively or even to the public.

To make it clear, the white card seeks to reward fair play and sportsmanship, justice and camaraderie within any sport. One of the great examples where this card would be displayed occurred a few months ago, when a nurse attending a futsal game received the card after entering the field to care for a player who had been injured.

Another noteworthy aspect of this card is that it can be shown after a yellow or red card is used, as was the case recently in a third division game. In this situation, a player sent off by the referee recognized that the decision was the correct one, a position that earned him the white card.

Reward the positive

Cases like these are becoming more common in Portuguese sport, so Lima made it clear that his country is a pioneer in this initiative. “Very little is said about the positive dimension of sport. This card values this aspect and has brought it into public debate. Several studies that we carry out prove that since its application, disciplinary incidents have been reduced in all sports. This card is also a way of presenting the referee as a teacher, as someone who not only sanctions or punishes”.

For now, the great objective of this initiative is to be endorsed by FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB), bodies that govern the rules in the world of soccer. Despite the fact that it is known that it would be a complicated change to execute due to the rigidity that is currently being handled, it is certain that the arrival of this new card will end up being implemented sooner or later.