Monday, 5 December 2016

The Green Card Rule in Football

As per 90min, the green card was used for the first time in football in a Serie B match between Virtus Entella and Vicenza of Italy. And it was issued in favour of the visitors. Although not a physical card like the yellow and red cards, the green card would be recorded in favour of a team for fair play.

So, what actions would be adjudged fair play from a player? For instance, in the Serie B match, the referee gave a corner kick to the away side only for the Vicenza player involved in the action to tell the centre referee that it was a goal kick instead for the home side, Virtus Entella because his attempted cross did not touch the defender.

Well, that was in the Serie B match, where arguably, the competition is less fierce compared to a Serie A game involving say Juventus and Roma or a very competitive match on the last day of the season where the same Serie B teams are fighting for survival. In either case, you would see clearly that the green card rule wouldn't matter at all when the stakes are high.

In essence, in a very competitive league or tourney, the green card rule would be observed by teams only if the stakes are not high; when the fate of every team has been decided; the title has been won and lost, the relegation battle has been won and lost, qualification for European competitions has been decided. Otherwise, the green card rule would be as useless as the letter "p" in the word "psychology" since it would be left at the mercy of teams to decide whether it is issued or not. To put it clearly, in a highly competitive game, no player would be so honest as to reject a penalty kick wrongfully awarded by the referee when his team are chasing a game or searching for a winner.

After all said and done, it would be quite interesting if teams observe this latest rule in the game irrespective of the competition involved, since it would further enhance the good reputation of football and also endear opposition players to opposition fans. As we await its wider application across the various leagues and competitions in the World, it is my candid hope that the green card rule succeeds for the good of the game.

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