New English Rules

Written by David Robinson

The football season kicks off very soon and with a new campaign to look forward to, there will be new faces, new kits, new managers and now, new rules. Following a season of what has been described as ”unacceptable levels” of poor conduct, changes have been made to give Referee’s an easier time and to get rid of all the abuse and aggressive behaviour by players.

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credit Mike Licht

A straight red card will be issued to a player who confronts an official, or uses either offensive languages or gestures. Other notable rules include a yellow card for surrounding an official, physical contact with an official in a non-aggressive manner, and reacting aggressively to a decision. I give my reaction to these changes and what it can mean for this season.

First and foremost I like the intent of the rule changes. Far too often we see players cross the line and it makes for ugly viewing at times with the Referee often reluctant to punish ill discipline of the players. I personally would be happy to see a game where the referee isn’t the centre of attention while more importantly officials are less likely to be influenced when making decisions. In truth they could do with all the help they can get based on what I have seen last season.

I believe the rules are a mixed bag in terms of how appropriate they are but also how realistic they are in terms of enforcing them. In the heat of the moment and with some shocking decisions likely to be thrown about, will the referee really have the bottle to show a red card for a player coming up to him and swearing at him? If this is enforced consistently then I deem it not to be a problem. As football fans, I’m sure we can nearly all agree that we want consistency. If these rules have been stated with intent, then they needed to be executed with intent from the get go. If this isn’t the case then it’s likely to become a farce with more games being heavily influenced by officials, something that was far too common last season.

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credit Ben Sutherland

Getting a yellow card for contact in a non-aggressive manner is the example that this could all go pear shaped. Common sense should prevail, a Referee should have the power and any aggressive behaviour should be punished. However I believe an instant yellow card should be shown for any sort of this behaviour. This sets the tone for the game and that it will simply not be tolerated. Of course a red card should be given for anything that crosses the line but with fans paying fortunes and spending a lot of time travelling, no fan wants to see a game ruined with a red card for something so needless, particularly the way football is crunching down on tackles and collisions. I don’t want to see matches full of cards.

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credit Ronnie Macdonald

The footballing authorities have made their intentions clear. It remains to be seen whether they can remove some of the ugly sides of football away. You have to question if the consistency will be there though. Will Chelsea’s constant hounding of the referee stop? If you took at examples from last season, we’d see 5 or 6 players on a booking on just one occasion. It’s time for some real mental strength from the officials now, for the ones who often seem to love centre stage, the spotlight will be on.

Will the new rules be a success? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by Ronnie Macdonald