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They may be more used to issuing warnings and penalties, but referees in Italy's Serie B division are set to make professional football history by rewarding players for sportsmanship.
Italy set for fair play green card revolution
09/04/2015
 

They may be more used to issuing warnings and penalties, but referees in Italy's Serie B division are set to make professional football history by rewarding players for sportsmanship.


Along with the yellow cards used to caution a player after a foul and the dreaded red card signalling a player's expulsion, referees in Italy's second division will now also carry green cards.


"It's all about rewarding the players who have stood out from the rest through positive acts in the game, and towards sport in general," Serie B president Andrea Abodi said.


The initiative has been tested in Italy's junior ranks and will debut in professional football for the first time when Serie B kicks off this weekend.


Players who, for example, halt play to allow officials to attend to an injured opponent or who admit to fouls when none were signalled would be eligible for a green card. At the end of the season, the green cards are tallied and the most sporting players will be awarded a prize that has yet to be determined.


In a game where players regularly try to hoodwink officials by taking dives in the penalty area and feigning the seriousness of fouls to have opponents punished, true sportsmanship is rarely in evidence.


But if there was to be a winner of the green card award in recent years, it would have gone to Aaron Hunt.

During a crucial Bundesliga game away to FC Nurnberg in 2014, the referee awarded a penalty to Bremen after Hunt tripped in the box.


Hunt got back up, protested he had not been fouled and the penalty was struck off. At the end, despite Bremen's 2-0 win, Nurnberg players lined up to shake Hunt's hand.


The idea of different coloured cards in football is not new.


UEFA president Michel Platini, a candidate for the presidency of FIFA, has previously advocated the use of 'sin bin' white cards. They would allow referees to limit the use of yellow cards by sending players off temporarily.

Source: AFP
 
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