The Premier League, alongside the Football League and Football Association, has today announced a raft of new rules in the hope of clamping down on what they describe as the "intolerable behaviour by players and managers in their competitions" that has emerged in recent seasons.
Citing an attempt to improve behaviour across the game, the new interpretation of the laws affect everything from manager conduct in the technical area to what can be said to referees.
Indeed, it is the controversial topic of player interaction with officials that could have the biggest impact when the 2016/17 season kicks off in a few weeks time.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
You can see the full range of rule changes in the article published on the Premier League's official website this morning, but some of the ones that stand out include...
Yellow cards to be issued to players who confront an official face to face or run towards and official to content a decision.
A yellow will also be issued to "at least one player when two or more from a team surround a match official", and to players who make contact with an official in a non-aggressive manner.
Red cards, meanwhile, will be issued:
- To players who confront match officials and use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards them.
- For physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.
Clearly, the red card rule for players confronting and swearing at officials is the biggest change, and could wreak havoc on the league in the first few weeks of the campaign, if it is properly enforced.
Whether that is the case, however, remains to be seen as the league has come up with similar initiatives in the past only for them to fall by the wayside after only a few games.
With that in mind, it hasn't taken long for fans of clubs across the English football pyramid to react to today's news. It is fair to say that opinion is split at this point:
While fans may be split on whether things will actually improve (or worsen) in 2016/17, Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore has explained why it is so important to act now:
"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.”