A Referee Makes History In A Sporting Lisbon Vs Benfica Match After Showing A White Card

Football history was made on Saturday when a white card, which recognises fair play, was shown for the first time during a match in Portugal.

Red and yellow cards for fouls and misdemeanours have been an integral part of the sport for decades, but Portugal has introduced a white one as part of a series of new initiatives in the country.

Referee Catarina Campos brandished the card – shown to recognise and encourage fair play – during a women's cup clash between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica in Lisbon at the weekend in a first for the game.

Shortly before half-time in the Taca de Portugal Feminina match – the Portuguese equivalent of the Women's FA Cup – the official showed the card as she would have a red or yellow, and received a good reception from the crowd at the Estadio da Luz.

Someone on a bench in the dugout had fallen ill, with medical staff from both teams quickly going to their aid.

The referee took out the card and showed it to members of both sides' medical teams, prompting a warm reception from fans.  

The card can be shown to recognise and encourage fair play and is designed to 'improve ethical value in the sport'.

The move is part of a new initiative in Portugal to encourage sides to act in a sporting manner and receive instant recognition for their positive actions.

Previously, former UEFA president Michel Platini had called for the introduction of a white card as a punishment for dissent, that would leave guilty players in a 10-minute sin-bin.

Platini suggested the white card to help combat the 'craze of contesting the referee', which he branded 'a veritable epidemic in football'.

The Frenchman's ideas went no further – and Portugal's white card appears to be a Portuguese-led initiative rather than anything led by the International Football Association Board.

Benfica eventually won 5-0  in front of 15,032 fans – a record attendance for a women's football match in Portugal – to progress to the semi-finals of the competition.

Their men's side were also victorious as they won 3-0 away at Santa Clara. Enzo Fernandez was among those involved and it has since emerged that Chelsea are reportedly back in for the World Cup-winning midfielder.