What is a White Card in Football? When Was It Issued For The First Time?

white card in football

Most football fans know the meaning of both the red and yellow cards during games. However, did you know that the first-ever white card was show during the quarterfinal encounter of Portuguese football, during the Sporting Lisbon vs Benfica women’s game, opening a new chapter in Portuguese history?

Referees typically show players in football yellow and red cards when they’ve done something inappropriate in Premier League games, as well as all other competitions. Read down below to find out more about the white card in football, which isn’t used as frequently as the red and yellow.

What does a football “white card” mean?

Many fans haven’t seen a white card before because it’s was only recently introduced into football for the first time ever, and that was in Portugal’s women’s quarter-final game of Benfica vs Sporting Lisbon. It was a day when history was made, and now there is probably going to be a national plan for ethics in sports put into place by the International Football Association Board. 

In order for referees to recognise and reward teams and players for fair play and excellent sportsmanship during games, white cards have been introduced to football. The purpose of white cards is to elevate moral standards in football games. As observed at the most recent World Cup in Qatar, other efforts include concussion substitutions and lengthier stoppage times.

Did Portugal invent the white card? When was it first used? Who is referee Catarina Campos?

The “white card” was first shown in the women’s game of Benfica vs Sporting Lisbon on Saturday, January 21st 2023, and as many may say “history was made on Saturday”, referring to that date. 

Just before halftime, the white card made its debut as referee Catarina Campos rewarded both teams’ medical staff for rushing to the aid of a spectator who had been unwell in the stands The attendance at the Estadio da Luz stadium erupted in cheers when the card was presented to the medical personnel as the medical crew made their way back to the bench.

Why was a White Card shown in the Benfica vs Sporting Lisbon game?

The women’s team Benfica was up 3-0 against Sporting Lisbon in their local rivalry when play was stopped shortly before halftime because one of the spectators felt sick. Both sides’ medical staff sprung into action to help the player. Following the resolution of the situation, referee Catarina Campos flashed the white card to both medical crews, drawing cheers from the audience.

In front of 15,032 spectators, a record number of females in attendance in Portugal, Benfica went on to win the game 5-0 and go on to the semi-finals. 

Do other football leagues use the white card? Is it used in the Premier League?

The white card has only been used by Portugal so far, and it is unclear whether it will be regularly implemented by other leagues across the world. 

In order to reward players for their good behaviour and fair play, the Serie B League in Italy tested the use of green cards during the 2015–16 season. At the time, Andrea Abdodi, president of Serie B, said: “It’s a symbolic honour. It can be a really straightforward matter. Recognising when a professional performs something excellent is crucial, and he must be rewarded.”

Up until now, the Premier League or any other football league in the world has not used the white card.

Is The White Card going to be used in the future?

Plans are reportedly going to be put in place to improve ethical values in sports, especially in football following the first show of the card in Portugal. It also encourages more fair play and sportsmanship between players on the pitch. 

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