Football authorities in talks to clamp down on dissent amid rise in incidents | Referees
- Premier League, FA, EFL and PGMOL have met to tackle issue
- 534 cards shown for dissent in top four divisions this season
English football’s governing bodies are in talks to bring in measures to clamp down on dissent due to concern over the rise in bad behaviour towards officials. With two weeks of the season remaining, 534 cards have been issued to players for dissent in the top four flights of English football, according to Opta – easily surpassing last season’s tally of 477, as well as the 421 cards shown in 2020-21.
Talks are under way between the Premier League, Football Association, Football League and PGMOL, the body responsible for referees, to address the issue.
Although those discussions are said to be still in the consulting stage, one source involved said there was widespread concern given the rise in the number of reports, warnings, charges and sanctions for misconduct at the elite level of English football shows no signs of slowing.
Officials have also noted the sharp increase in managers being disciplined for poor behaviour in the Premier League. According to Opta, managers have been booked 26 times and received seven red cards in 2022-23 – a steep rise from the 18 cards issued last season and the four in 2020-21.
Repeat offenders this season have included Brighton’s manager, Roberto De Zerbi, who has been sent off against Fulham and Tottenhamand Fulham’s Marco Silva, who has served two touchline bans.
The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, who received a £30,000 fine and a one-match ban after being sent off against Manchester City for shouting at an assistant referee, was on Thursday given a two-match ban – with the second game suspended until the end of next season – for comments made about the referee Paul Tierney after his side beat Tottenham last month.
This week the chief refereeing officer of PGMOL, Howard Webb, warned that the behaviour of players and managers had “not been good enough”. It is understood that is a position strongly supported by the Premier League and the FA.
“For quite some time now there’s been a group of people from all aspects of the game coming together to look at participant behaviour and come up with some steps that we think will make a difference, and those will be implemented during the close season,” Webb said.
“We will be speaking to the clubs, the managers, the players, the media, everybody involved, to lay out what those look like. I get the sense there is a stronger desire now than before for this to happen. We have a great product and a great league and we don’t need some of the behaviour we have seen to continue.”
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