Green Card in Soccer – Meaning and Games It was Used

A number of rules and regulations govern soccer. The “Green Card” is one such rule which often confuses both players and fans. The Green Card may not be discussed as much as other cards, like the yellow or red, but it has a special place in soccer. This comprehensive guide will explain the purpose of the Green Card, its implications, and the differences between the red and yellow cards.

What is the Green Card in Soccer?

The Green Card, often regarded as the least familiar member of the card family in soccer, serves a distinct purpose. Unlike the red and yellow cards, which are primarily used for disciplinary actions, the Green Card is employed to acknowledge and appreciate acts of sportsmanship, fair play, and exceptional behavior on the field. It is a symbol of recognition for players who go above and beyond in displaying positive qualities on the soccer pitch.

What is the difference between a Green Card, a Yellow & Red Card?

AspectGreen CardYellow CardRed Card
PurposeReward and Appreciation for Sportsmanship and Fair PlayCaution for Minor Offenses and MisconductPunishment for Serious Offenses and Misconduct
Issued forActs of sportsmanship, exceptional behavior, and fair playMinor fouls, unsporting behavior, or dissentSerious misconduct, violent conduct, or accumulation of yellow cards
Impact on GameNo immediate impact on the matchPlayer receives a caution, and if two yellow cards are shown, the player is sent off with a red cardPlayer is immediately sent off the field, reducing the team to 10 players
ConsequencesPositive acknowledgment and recognitionWarning to the playerEjection from the match
Number of Cards AllowedGenerally unlimited (based on exceptional behavior)Typically, only one yellow card is allowed per player per matchOne red card per player per match
Penalty for TeamNo impact on the team’s performanceTeam plays with one player less if a player receives a red cardNo impact on the team if a player receives a green card
Common OffensesActs of goodwill, helping an injured opponent, admitting to a foulMinor fouls, time-wasting, dissent, unsporting conductSerious foul play, violent conduct, deliberate handball
VisibilityRarely seen and not universally recognizedCommon and well-known in the gameCommon and well-known in the game
ObjectivePromotes sportsmanship and a positive spirit of the gameMaintains discipline and fair playEnsures player safety and adheres to the rules
FrequencyRarely used in most soccer competitionsFrequently used in soccer matchesCommonly used in soccer matches
Effect on SuspensionDoes not lead to player suspensionAccumulation of yellow cards may lead to suspensionPlayer suspension after a red card, often with a match ban
Game ContinuationPlay continues with the same number of playersPlay continues with one player fewerPlay continues with one player fewer

Yellow Card

Yellow Cards are usually used as a warning to indicate that a player is guilty of a foul or has acted in an unsportsmanlike manner. The yellow card is a warning that can result in a red card (expulsion) if a player accumulates two yellow cards during a match.

Red Card

A severe punishment that results in the player being ejected from a game. The Red Card is displayed for serious misconduct, violence, or any other offenses that violate the rules of a game.

The Green Card, on the other hand, emphasizes fairness and positive behavior. The Green Card is a token that shows appreciation and emphasizes the importance of maintaining integrity in sports.

Green Card Punishment

Understand that a green card does not carry any further punishment, and the player is free to play in the next game. The green card is now more of a warning than a serious offense.

It was the first time that a real green card was displayed instead of a virtual assessment. It didn’t seem to have a lasting impact after the event.

The strangest thing about the CONIFA World Cup was that everyone seemed to be hyping up the fact the first green card in soccer history had been issued. The social media posts were made by people who felt that it was a positive change.

Many people, however, were skeptical about the change and thought it was unnecessary. The majority of people viewed the move as a gimmick designed to attract more attention to a cup, which isn’t necessarily watched that much.

Examples Where Green Card Was used in a Soccer Game

Two situations where green card was used in soccer games are:

  • Italian Serie B League, 2016
  • CONIFA World Cup, 2018

Italian Serie B League, 2016

In October 2016, Vicenza Calcio’s Cristian Galano received the second green card in Italy. Cristian Galano admitted to Marco Mainardi, the referee, that the goal kick awarded to his team had been incorrect and that he did not touch the ball.

The referee then revoked and awarded the goal kick to Vitrus Enella, the opposing team. He earned a yellow card in the end.

The card was used to represent an exceptional act. Andrea Abodi, the President of Serie B, said:

It could be a very simple award. The important thing is that you recognize a professional when they do something exceptional.

FIFA and other game academies do not recognize the green card, nor can referees use it in a match. The green card was used as a reward for players who showed a positive attitude towards the game.

CONIFA World Cup, 2018

Referee Raymond Mashamba awarded the first green card ever at Confederation of Independent Football Associations 2018 to Tuvalu’s midfielder against Padania.

The green card issued in 2018 was given to the Tuvaluan midfielder to warn him of his disrespect and dissent towards Raymond, the referee.

This card also gives the referee more control over players and the game. This card encourages players to be more polite and respectful of the referee.

Will the Green Card ever be officially recognized?

It is unlikely that the green card, as creative as it may be in some of the cases discussed in this article, will be officially added to any professional leagues, let alone international games.

This would slow down the game, confuse players, and make them learn something new.

Although it is impossible to predict the future, there are not many players or fans who want a green card. Most likely, the game will remain in relative obscurity. It was still worth it to try something different in both cases, just to change things up.

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