FA to play hardball over foul language
Saturday 06 August 2005
Six of the most influential men in English football gathered in the bowels of a Soho hotel to launch the campaign. Brian Barwick, the FA's chief executive, and Keith Hackett, general manager of the Professional Match Officials Board, were flanked by the chief executives of the Premiership (Richard Scudamore) and the League Managers Association (John Barnwell), the Football League's chief operating officer (Andy Williamson) plus the deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association (Mick McGuire). The message conveyed is that the game is united on the issue.
How long this unanimity lasts remains to be seen. The players and managers are on board for the moment, but their support may waver once the red cards appear. And that seems an inevitable consequence of a hard-line approach to players using foul, abusive or insulting language. In action prompted, perhaps, by the outcry that followed Wayne Rooney's abuse of Graham Poll at Highbury last winter, it "has been made very clear", to quote Hackett, that such behaviour will in future result in dismissal.
Rooney, admitted Hackett, could, and should, have been sent off under the existing interpretation of the law, but under the new one he definitely would be. "Spontaneous reactions of disagreement," which involve foul language, can still be dealt with by a quiet word from the referee but "premeditated" or "aggressive" postures will mean red.
"The will is there to back this," insisted Barwick when reminded that similar campaigns had been watered down by October. That said, both Scudamore and Barnwell reserved the right to review the situation during the season. Clubs have additionally been told that "mass confrontation", whether between players and referees, or opposing teams, is unacceptable.
There have also been changes in the application of laws involving foul tackles and offside. A "reckless" tackle, whether from behind or not, should now result in a booking, and a reckless one endangering a player's safety should spell red. Not that the English game will go soft. While Hackett conceded "the pendulum" may have swung too far towards robust play since he replaced Philip Don at the PMOB, the response of McGuire and Barnwell suggested players and managers prefer his approach.
The confusing passive-active distinction remains for offside, but with players now able to be regarded as "active", and flagged offside, later in the move. This is aimed to stop players benefiting from deliberately taking up positions that would have been offside under the original interpretation.
Other changes include the dropping, at the insistence of Fifa, of the 10-yard sanction for dissent. Players must also stand two metres away from the takers at throw-ins.
Latest in Sport
Arsene Wenger 18th anniversary at Arsenal: His WORST signings XI during his time with the Gunners
18 things Wenger has still never done at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger's worst signings XI
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Nani: On loan Sporting Lisbon winger admits he may not return to Manchester United
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol