English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has announced a crackdown on the behaviour of players and managers next season.
A new campaign will target the abuse of match officials, specifically incidents of players surrounding referees during matches and managers calling the integrity of referees into question.
The Football Association, the Premier League Match Officials’ group and the Professional Footballers’ Association will all be consulted before the campaign comes into force.
According to Scudamore, all 20 top-flight clubs agreed to implicate the new policy, following a string of high-profile rows over referees this season.
“The clubs unanimously backed the idea that at the start of next season we want to raise the bar,” Scudamore said.
The most notable incident involved Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who received a five-match touchline ban after criticising the performance of referee Martin Atkinson during United’s 2-1 defeat away to Chelsea on March 1.
“I think we do need to concentrate on the player and manager relationship with the referee this time, as every one of us knows that there have been elements of unacceptable behaviour,” Scudamore said.
“As to what we think is unacceptable; it’s vitriolic abuse towards match officials and that has on occasions gone unpunished; the surrounding of referees is unacceptable … and also the undue criticism, where it spills over into questioning the referee’s integrity or his honesty.”
The League Managers’ Association have reportedly expressed their support for the program.
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