The best league in the world always try as much as possible to protect its officials. In other parts of the world, South America and Africa for example, centre referees are often subject to physical abuse from players and fans alike. We hardly see such scenes in England, but we get to see officials get confronted by players and coaches once in a while. The next time a Diego Costa confronts the referee, an immediate redcard will most likely be shown. Retrospective actions have been the order of the day in such cases of unruly behavior towards the officials, and the F.A has continually tried its possible best to mete out necessary punishments which includes fines and match bans. The football body has decided to take a new approach when the new season resumes. Protecting the officials is pertinent, and the new rules will definitely reduce the level of 1 or 2-minute madness players can often display once they feel aggrieved by a refereeing decision.

Henceforth, a yellow card will be issued when:

– There is a visible disrespectful and improper attitude/behavior aimed at a match official

– More than 1 player surround the referee or other match officials after a decision. A minimum of 1 yellow will be issued.

– A player/coach runs to a match official to contest or query a decision

– Responding aggressively/violently to a decision

– Confronting a match official to his face

– There is a physical contact with a match official in a non-violent and aggressive manner

A red card will be issued when:

– A player/coach uses physical contact with officials in a violent, aggressive or confrontational manner

– Offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures are used towards officials

These news rules will definitely do the league good and paint it in a better picture to the viewing world. The world’s most viewed league sure deserves more level of scrutiny as far as behaviours are concerned. In the words of the Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore,

“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. 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.”

This will definitely instill a degree of discipline into players and coaches in the long run, and leagues around the world will follow suit in making sure the officials get adequate protection and cover in the course of carrying out their duties. Players like Jamie Vardy and Diego Costa got into troubles with referees last season and were made to serve bans. The punishment will be stiffer next term. While at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho got into trouble with the F.A more than once last season after some unruly remarks towards referees. We could see harsher punishments handed over to his likes next season, and that will be go a long way in curbing how referees are targeted by handlers during interviews and conferences. The new rules are welcome development from the F.A, and it will further strengthen the EPL’s stand as the best league in the world following the emulatory step.

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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