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Referee shows a white card for the first time in football history: But why?

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euronews.com

Football history was made on Saturday 21 January. For the first time ever, a white card was shown by a match official in Portugal.If you're familiar with football, you'll be aware that referees traditionally have two cards in their arsenal: a yellow one (used for cautions) and a red one (used for permanently suspending a player from the game).

So it may come as a surprise to many when an unprecedented white card was shown during a women's cup match clash between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, in which Benfica won 5-0.It has raised many questions online.

Here's what you need to know. The white card, also known as the "fair play card", was introduced by the Portuguese Football Federation and aims to promote sportsmanship.

It immediately rewards positive behaviour on the pitch. The card made its first ever appearance just before half-time on the weekend, after referee Catarina Campos used it to reward medical staff from both sides after they rushed to the aid of a fan who had fallen ill in the stands.As the card was shown to the medical staff, the crowd at Estadio da Luz rose to their feet in applause as the medics made their way back to the dugout.So far only Portugal has adopted the white card, and it remains to be seen whether it will be used in other countries and how fans would react if it was.

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