History scripted: Football’s first-ever ‘white card’ shown by referee in Sporting v Benfica clash


In a first-ever, during a women’s derby match between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, a ‘white-card’ was introduced by the referee.

Since the 1970 FIFA World Cup, footy fans have become familiar with the referee flashing the yellow card and the red cards to offending players. However, this was the first time when a white card was used in the game.

This happened in a women’s cup match being played in Portugal on Saturday when someone on the bench in the dugouts reportedly felt ill at the end of the first-half.

The referee brandished the white card to both medical teams who had rushed to the aid of the unwell fan in the stands in recognition of their ‘sportsmanship’.

As per JOE reports, the white card is designed to show recognition to clubs for acts of f air play during a match, in a bid to ‘improve ethical value in the sport’.


The white card has been introduced in Portugal alongside many FIFA initiatives of late. Football’s international governing body has also introduced concussion substitutes to the game, as well as longer stoppage time – which was most notable during the group stage matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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