WATCH: Premier League referees are going to be stricter, says FA chief executive Mark Bullingham

The English Premier League will see an array of changes with respect to punishments on players who disrespect referees, starting from the upcoming season that begins on August 12.

Published : Aug 05, 2023 14:39 IST , Chennai - 2 MINS READ

The English Premier League will see an array of changes with respect to punishments on players’ disrespect towards referees, starting from the upcoming season that begins on August 12.

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 recently ahead of the league opener between newly promoted Burnley and Arsenal.

“We want to fundamentally reset the behaviour of players and coaches from the top to the bottom of the game. We want to give referees the best level of protection and the best experience they can have. Referees are going to be far stricter on how they interpret things. For example, it won’t be acceptable in any way for players to surround the referees. That will lead to a yellow card straight away. Many of the rules are already in place. Referees are going to be much stricter on how they apply them. We think that will lead to much better player behaviour and also coach behaviour on the sidelines.” said Mark Bullingham, CEO of English Football Association.

“We do think that at the beginning of the season this could lead to more cautions and potentially even red cards as well as players adapt. But we do feel that players will adapt very quickly to this new environment. Player and coach behaviour is less of an issue in a women’s game but we want to get it right for the whole game from the top to the bottom. We want to be very clear on what the boundaries are for everyone.” he added.

The harsher punishments are not only limited to the players, coaches and the support staff but the fans of English clubs as well. “Most fans are really well behaved but there are a small minority that do pyrotechnics, that do pitch invasions or have discriminatory chanting. Tragedy chanting, as with discriminatory behaviour, is completely unacceptable. That will lead to football bans and potentially also criminal proceedings as well.” stated Bullingham.

He further said: “So our tougher approach to player and coach behaviour applies at all levels of the game. From the top to the bottom. Particularly in the grassroots we’ve got a new rule that allows us to deduct points from teams that are serial offenders. It’s aimed at that small number of teams that really do transgress, whether that’s discriminatory behaviour or whether it’s actually threatening behaviour towards officials. Completely unacceptable. Those teams could now be docked points.”

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