Football

Marco Mainardi was the first referee to award a green card.

Italy's Serie B makes history with use of first-ever green card

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Serie B's reputation has been significantly damaged in recent weeks, following a match-fixing scandal that arose at the beginning of the season.

But while the second tier of Italian football is trying to make amends for recent issues within the division, Serie B has also made the headlines for the right reasons and, onTuesday night, the league made history.

Referees are often accused of too easily of going to their pocket to hand out yellow and, sometimes, red cards. However, referees in Serie B will now be able to award a third green card, for fair play.

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Although the green card will not directly impact the game itself, as it would with suspensions a result of picking up multiple yellow cards or a red, Serie B is hoping its addition will have a positive influence on the league.

The Italian second division is the first league to test it out, with the scheme having been revealed at the beginning of the season and the player with the most green cards at the end of the campaign receiving an award.

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And Tuesday marked the first use of the card, with Vicenza attacker Cristian Galano receiving a green card from referee Marco Mainardi.

Galano admitted that none of Virtus Entella's defenders had touched the ball when Mainardi incorrectly called for a corner kick. And that instance was an example to the rest of league as what would warrant a green card.

Positive impact

Serie B president Andrea Abodi is hoping that league's history-making change will promote the league in a more positive light, following recent events, but admits the award is little more than symbolic.

“It’s a symbolic award,” said Abodi, as per Goal. “It could be something very simple. The important thing is to recognise it when a professional does something exemplary.”

Meanwhile, a Serie B spokesman also added: “We think that football needs positive messages.

Embroiled in controversy

“This sport is too often embroiled in controversy that drives people away from the stadiums.”

It remains unlikely that the new green card will become a universal addition in global football, considering it's minor impact on the game. But is a positive from the Italian league to promote fair play within the sport.

Should more leagues around the world introduce the use of a green card? Give your opinion in the comment box below.

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