Is green penalty card the penacea for fairness in soccer ?

Soccer continue to attract calls for reform. Proponents of reform, argue that the game needs fair rules. A new voice for fairness and accountability in soccer is the successful Bundesliga coach, Felix Magath. He has suggested a novel idea of issuing green penalty card in soccer.

In an article for Hamburger Abendblatt sometime last year, Magath said, “i have been calling for a green card in addition to yellow and red cards for years. The card should signal punishment but not exclusion from playing the game.” He also suggested fines for a player as consequence from the green card. He is of the opinion that the card will punish an individual player who infringe against the rules of the game, without the whole team or the club bearing the brunt of the punishment. Magath, explains that other advantages of the green card, could be the establishment of a bit fairness. He added, “a wrong call in soccer can destroy existences. Coaches are sacked after losing games, teams are relegated or not. Often we find out afterwards that a yellow or red card was excessive or in other situations, not issued.”

Ken Aston, is credited to be the referee that thought about language neutral colored cards in soccer, based on the principles of the traffic light. In the 1970 FIFA world cup in Mexico, yellow penalty card to denote caution and red penalty card for expulsion was introduced. Magath’s idea will lead to a complete use of traffic light colors with the green penalty card.

The debate about fairness in soccer will not go away any time soon. But Magath’s novel idea is a breath of fresh air. My only fear is that individual players could be easily stigmatized. Also, the game might lose it’s collective structure as a team sport. There is a written codex among players in soccer that they win and lose together. What happens to team spirit ?

Let the debate begin.