NON-LEAGUE chiefs have welcomed a crackdown on bad behaviour – and warned clubs to expect a barrage of red and yellow cards if they don’t get their house in order.
Last week, the Premier League, Football League and FA introduced new rules to combat ‘intolerable behaviour’ by players and managers that had reached ‘unacceptable levels’.
They have ordered referees throughout the game to take decisive action. Red cards will now be automatically issued to players who confront match officials, use offensive language or make objectionable gestures towards them.
Managers and coaches will also come under scrutiny when the season kicks off with technical areas to be more rigorously monitored.
While the measures have been taken by the top echelons of the game, Non-League will also be impacted. National League chief executive Michael Tattersall said: “This comes from the Premier League really. They’re concerned about how it looks on TV when you get players surrounding referees trying to get concessions out of them.
“I don’t think we have that same sort of issue, though any team that employs those kinds of tactics can expect a greater disciplinary approach from referees.
“Every so often you get a refereeing edict and the first two or three weeks there’s a spate of red and yellow cards before it settles down.”
Evo-Stik NPL chairman Mark Harris said: “Anything to improve conduct, especially involving referees, is to be applauded and encouraged but there is no question this will take a while to bed in.
“From us, it’s a cautious welcome. Clubs will need to ensure players are fully briefed on this. The last thing anyone wants is to see a large number of red cards brandished. We’re likely to see some fall foul of this, especially early on.”
New Evo-Stik Southern League chairman Terry Barratt agreed, adding: “It’s an important step and stronger action is something I have been championing for a while.
“But now clubs have to ensure they carry this message forward – we don’t want to see nobody left on the pitch and for it to spoil matches.”
Ryman League chairman Nick Robinson said: “This is the news we really wanted to hear. There’s a plan and it’s important to stick to it.
“If that means it’s not pretty for a few weeks, so be it. We major on the fact our member clubs are community and family friendly so this zero tolerance approach is fantastic news.”