Premier League announce initiative to improve player behavior

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The Premier League have launched a joint-initiative with the English FA and the English Football League to try and improve the behavior of players and managers across the game.

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In a statement released on Wednesday, the key goals are to try and eradicate dissent towards match officials, surrounding match officials, any physical abuse of the officials, conduct in the technical areas and any offensive language or gestures towards the officiating crew.

One of the biggest changes is to try and stamp down on players surrounding officials in groups and the statement says that “a yellow card for at least one player when two or more from a team surround a match official” during a game.

In more rule changes red cards will now be handed out to players who “confront match officials and use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards them” and also to those who engage in “physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.”

So, in short, expect more cards in the opening months of next season as the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) try to implement these stricter sanctions on player and manager behavior.

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore shared his thoughts on this new joint-initiative.

“We and our clubs have been discussing for some time concerns that certain elements of player behavior are overstepping the mark and it is our collective position that these types of behavior should no longer be tolerated,” Scuadamore 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.”

It is true that behavior on the pitch towards officials has deteriorated in the PL in recent years.

If you look at the way match officials are treated by players in most U.S. sports then there is a lot more respect and much less dissent than is present in PL games and soccer leagues across the world.

This is a positive step from the three governing bodies but it will be interesting to see how quickly players and managers come to terms with the new rules for the upcoming season.