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Joint approach to improve behaviour announced

20 Jul 2016
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Premier League, EFL and FA to ask match officials to take stronger position towards players and managers

Premier League football, and the wider game in England, is known for being competitive and compelling, but also for its fairness and for being played in the right spirit.

However, the English football authorities have noticed over the past four seasons that intolerable behaviour by players and managers in their competitions have reached unacceptable levels in certain areas.

Therefore the Premier League, EFL and The FA have announced a collective undertaking to improve behaviour across the game. 

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When players surround the referee, a yellow card for at least one will be issued

Their undertaking will task the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) to take a stronger position and action towards unacceptable participant conduct.

This will focus on behaviour towards match officials, with the aim of reducing disrespectful conduct such as aggressively challenging decisions or running from distance to confront an official.

The PGMO will apply the Laws of the Game to manage rigorously the following incidents of bad behaviour with the following sanctions.

Dissent towards match officials

Yellow cards will be issued to players who:

  • Show visibly disrespectful behaviour to any match official
  • Respond aggressively to decisions
  • Confront an official face to face
  • Run towards an official to contest a decision

Offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards match officials

Red cards will be issued to players who confront match officials and use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards them.

Physical contact with match officials

  • A yellow card for physical contact with any match official in a non-aggressive manner (e.g. an inquisitive approach to grab the official’s attention).
  • A red card for physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.

Surrounding match officials

  • A yellow card for at least one player when two or more from a team surround a match official.
  • The FA will continue to sanction teams when they surround match officials.

Conduct in the technical area 

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Behaviour by players and club staff in the technical area will be more rigorously enforced
  • The requirements of the Technical Area Code of Conduct will be more rigorously enforced for players and club staff.
  • Additionally, match officials will be required to retain professional detachment from players and club staff at all times.

"We and our clubs have been discussing for some time concerns that certain elements of player behaviour are overstepping the mark and it is our collective position that these types of behaviour should no longer be tolerated,” Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman, the Premier League said.

"Things happen in the heat of the moment during fast and highly competitive football; we still want to see the passion fans enjoy and demand, but players and managers have to be aware there are lines that should not be crossed.”

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