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Italy's footballers to get green cards

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Italy's footballers to get green cards
A new green card will be used by referees to reward good sportsmanship in Serie B. Photo: Ingythewingy/The Local/Flickr
14:16 CEST+02:00
A green coloured card will give new powers to referees in Italy's second tier of professional football, Serie B, in an attempt to promote good sportsmanship.

To be introduced in October, the new card is not a punishment for footballers – rather it is a reward and can be shown to players who display sporting behavior on the field.

Under the new initiative players can be given a green card for things such as putting the ball out of play when an opposition player goes down injured, or for helping the referee resolve an on-pitch dispute.

Alberto Monguidi, press officer for Italy's Serie B, told The Local that the green card was aimed at changing people's perception of football.

“It's important to bring back a human element to the game as excessive negative examples in media and from sports professionals are turning people off football, which has lost its virtue,” Monguidi said.

The card will not be carried around by referees and brandished, but will be issued retroactively after consultation between the match official and a delegation from the league.

Should a player be given green card, his name will be placed into a table kept by the league. Then, at the end of the season, the player who has accumulated the most green cards will not only be the biggest sport in the league – they will also be given a prize.

The system has already been used in some youth leagues with success and should its trial in professional football be successful the system could be adopted by other leagues around the world.

“There are still many things to work out, but the idea and desire is there – we just need to make it work,” Monguidi said.

Other systems to be trialled like this include the use of goal line technology and the use of vanishing foam spray to mark out distances on free kicks, both of which are now in use in the world's top leagues.

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