This is how Swedish women’s football club FC Rosengård and its main sponsor changed the game from racist taunts to positive energy.
UEFA has revised its disciplinary regulations to include tougher penalties against racism. The measures aim to efficiently fight racist behaviour at football matches, in line with UEFA’s zero-tolerance policy. But it’s not always working…
FC Rosengård players Gaëlle Enganamouit and Marta were subjected to racist taunts during Champions League match against Frankfurt. The referee even paused the match during the second half and approached Frankfurt fans in order to deal with the issue.
UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Frankfurt after alleged racist behavior by the club’s fans. But despite their well publicised ”Respect” and ”No to Racism” slogans, the investigation was closed.
Just two weeks later, it was time for the premier game of the Swedish Women’s Football League. It was the perfect opportunity to celebrate another side of football. Something we call Positive Energy.
To take a firm stand on unsportmanslike behaviour on the pitch – or anywhere in the stadium – both teams and sponsor E.ON launched a brand new initiative: the Green Card.
The Green Card is awarded to players who contribute the most Positive Energy to the game. It might be great sportmanship. A beautiful pass. Respect for referees and opponents, or a real appreciation of the supporters.
And crucially, it’s the fans who decide who’ll get it. Using the hashtag #GreenCard, fans choose who’ll pick up the award. Live, or at home watching the game on tv, or anywhere else.
The game ended with 1 red card, 3 yellow and 4056 green cards.
This time, fans chose FC Rosengård’s Ebba Wieder as the worthy winner of Sweden’s first ever Green Card. Even though it’s still in its pilot phase; supporters, players, clubs and media have embraced and raised the Green Card initiative.
The next step is to spread the use of the card within youth teams and younger supporters. Let’s keep the football Positive.