Players could be sent off for coughing at opponents

Players could be sent off for coughing at opponents next season Picture: STEVE WALLER

Players could be sent off for coughing at opponents next season Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Players who deliberately cough at opponents or referees could be sent off next season, it emerged today.

The instructions, issued under new FA guidelines, come into force immeadiately at all levels of the game when Covid-19 restrictions are in place.

The FA said action should be taken when “the referee is certain someone deliberately, and from close range, coughed into the face of an opponent or match official.”

A player could be shown either a red or yellow card for the offence, although refs have been told not to punish ‘routine’ coughing.

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The offence falls under the category of “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.”


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The guidance adds: “If the incident was not severe enough to merit a sending-off, a caution could be issued for ‘unsporting behaviour - shows a lack of respect for the game’.”

Referees are also asked to remind players not to spit on the ground, although that is not deemed as misconduct.

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