Premier League players have been warned that they will face harsher punishments for harassing referees as part of a raft of measures aimed at stamping out bad behaviour on the pitch.
English football’s authorities aim to “reset” the attitude of players and managers towards officials in the coming season.
A series of measures intended to tackle the issue were revealed on Monday ahead of the Premier League campaign kicking off on August 11.
“As part of this reset, The FA, Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League, Barclays Women’s Championship, National League System (Steps 1-4) and referees’ governing body PGMOL have collectively launched a new Participant Charter,” the English Football Association said in a statement.
“The charter which was developed in partnership with the League Managers Association [LMA] and Professional Footballers’ Association [PFA] will see stronger measures for players, managers, coaches, support staff and club officials to adhere to on a matchday.”
Serious and repeat offenders can expect to face increased financial penalties, while referees will be encouraged to issue at least a yellow card if they are surrounded by two or more players.
Managers can also expect to be punished if they leave the technical area on the touchline to “enter the pitch to confront any match official at half-time or full-time”.
“We want players, managers and fans to continue showing their passion, but these new measures have been introduced to ensure that the line is not crossed when it comes to on-field and technical area behaviour,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham added: “Football has the power to unite and inspire all those that play and watch the game. However, sometimes, this can be negatively impacted by a small minority of players, coaches and fans.
“Our collective approach is to reset this behaviour on the pitch and from the sidelines, whilst giving our referees the respect and protection that they deserve.”
Off the field, clubs in the Premier League and the Football League will seek stronger sanctions against fans found to be involved in football tragedy abuse, such as chanting about the Hillsborough or Munich disasters.
Howard Webb, the Chief Refereeing Officer at PGMOL, said, “Football has come together and recognised that it’s time to change. There is a collaborative desire from all corners of the game to tackle unacceptable behaviour and we know we must play our part in delivering that.
“Whatever your role or connection with football, that pride and passion for the English game is there for us all and are key reasons why we love it, but the power of example is strong – what’s seen in the professional game is replicated at grassroots level. We have a collective duty to set new standards and leave a legacy for the benefit of the game’s future.”
(with inputs from AFP)
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