Everything you need to know about the move to stamp out bad player behaviour in English football


The Premier League, Football Association and English Football League on Wednesday announced a joint initiative to use football's existing laws to stamp out bad behaviour.

What has been announced?

Richard Scudamore at a media event

A joint Premier League, Football Association, English Football League initiative, backed by the League Managers' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association, to improve behaviour and the image of the game. Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said: "It starts with applying the laws of the game."

So why the big declaration?

To convey the message publicly to players, managers, coaches and match officials that bad behaviour will no longer be tolerated. It was about displaying a united front. "We are committed to see this through," Scudamore said. Match officials will need support for this to work.

What is the commitment?

Match officials will "rigorously" manage: dissent; offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards officials; physical contact with officials; surrounding match officials; and, conduct in technical areas. FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: "We want passion, we want intensity, but there is a line."

Was there any one incident which prompted this?

Tottenham and Chelsea players square up

No. Jamie Vardy's abuse of referee Jonathan Moss and the repeated flare-ups in the draw between Chelsea and Tottenham which ended Spurs' title bid were examples of poor behaviour - but there were others, including players running 50 yards to harass match officials and making physical contact with them.

What will be a bookable offence?

Yellow cards will be shown to players who show visibly disrespectful behaviour, respond aggressively to decisions, confront an official face to face or run towards an official to contest a decision. Non-aggressive physical contact with officials will result in a caution, while at least one player will be booked if two or more players from a team crowd around an official.

What about sending-off offences?

Players who confront a match official, yelling abuse or making rude gestures, can expect to see red. So too can those who make physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.

So we could see plenty of dismissals early in the season?

A referee shows a red card (David Davies/EMPICS)

Yes. Not one Premier League player has been sent off for insulting or abusive language towards a match official in the last five seasons, but that could change. "If participant behaviour doesn't improve, then there will be more yellow and red cards," Scudamore said.

Managers infringe, too - what sanctions do they face?

The technical area code of conduct, which is already in place, will be enforced more rigorously. Bellowing at the fourth official will no longer be tolerated, while the match officials will be required to keep a degree of distance.