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Referee shows green card in CONIFA World Football Cup match

Intermediate disciplinary measure used twice by official in charge of Padania v Tuvalu at tournament for non-FIFA affiliated international teams

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Watch as referee Raymond Mashamba issues a green card to Stefano Baldan, who was ordered to leave the pitch to be replaced by a substitute, in Padania's 8-0 win over Tuvalu at the CONIFA World Cup. Pictures courtesy of CONIFA

The first use of a green card by a referee was the big talking point at the CONIFA World Football Cup in London on Saturday.

The tournament for non-FIFA affiliated international teams, being held at non-league grounds across the capital, has introduced the card as an intermediate disciplinary measure in an attempt to clamp down on dissent and diving.

CONIFA rules state that "a player who receives a green card must leave the field of play immediately, but can be replaced if his team have not used all of their substitutes. A player receiving a green card is not excluded from his team's next match."

Thursday's first round of group games failed to produce a green card, but Raymond Mashamba, the official taking charge of the Group C clash between Padania and Tuvalu at Haringey's Coles Park, showed it twice in a matter of minutes in the second half, first to a Tuvalu midfielder and then to Padania's Stefano Baldan.

By that stage, Padania - representing a region of northern Italy - were already seven goals to the good against their opponents from Oceania, who had already used all their substitutes and were therefore unable to make a replacement.

ConIFA logo, World Football Cup
Image: The CONIFA tournament is taking place at non-league grounds across London

Padania went on to win the match 8-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals. Earlier in the day at the same venue, Szekely Land had beaten Matabeleland 5-0 to ensure they too will progress to the last eight.

Speaking to Sky Sports about the introduction of the green card, tournament organiser Paul Watson said: "We'd really like to clamp down on the dissent problem. Football has a problem with the lack of respect for referees.

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"That's not to say that isn't also the case in CONIFA games - the players in our tournament still have those traits.

"But it would be nice that, instead of it being ignored and therefore in a way condoned, it shouldn't necessarily cost someone their chance to play at this tournament, if they just lose their cool."

Paul Watson, CONIFA, World Football Cup
Image: Tournament organiser Paul Watson says the card has been introduced in an attempt to clamp down on dissent and diving

Jens Jockel, CONIFA's Asia President, is also supportive of the new rule.

"We have had some minor problems in the past, with some red cards at the end of a game - mostly when teams realised they can't keep up and find themselves losing heavily with 10 minutes left," he explained.

"It's a really good idea of how to sanction things that might not be worthy of a red card. More like personal mistakes - using swear words, disrespecting spectators and coaches and so on. It's a perfect way to find something in between."

Teams emerge during the CONIFA World Football Cup 2018 match between Northern Cyprus and Tibet at Enfield Town on June 2, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Con Chronis/CONIFA)
Image: Over 1000 fans packed into Enfield Town FC's Queen Elizabeth II Stadium on Saturday to watch the clash between Northern Cyprus and Tibet (Images Con Chronis/CONIFA)

Elsewhere on Matchday Two, tournament 'hosts' Barawa went down 2-1 to Cascadia at Carshalton, where - also in Group A - Ellan Vannin from the Isle of Man claimed their second win of the tournament so far, seeing off Tamil Eelam 2-0.

In the Group B games played at Enfield, holders Abkhazia surprisingly lost 2-0 to Karpatalya, while Northern Cyprus got their first victory, defeating Tibet 3-1.

Tibetan v Northern Cyprus during the CONIFA World Football Cup 2018 at Enfield Town on June 2, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Con Chronis/CONIFA)
Image: Northern Cyprus defeated Tibet 3-1 to move to the top of Group C

Finally, in Group D, United Koreans in Japan claimed another goalless draw, this time against Kabylia at Bracknell Town FC, with Western Armenia now topping the pool after they defeated Panjab 1-0 in Slough.

The final group games are played on Sunday, at Haringey, Rotherhithe (Fisher FC), Enfield, Bracknell, Bedfont and Slough. Tickets are available at the tournament website or on the gate.

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