Respect referees or else...
English Premier League players have been warned that they must show more respect to referees in a wide-ranging clamp down on petulant behaviour ahead of the new season.
Frustrated by the growing trend for players to harass officials with foul-mouth abuse and aggressive posturing, the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League yesterday announced they have joined forces in a bid to stamp out the problem.
From the start of this season, players who use offensive language towards officials will be punished with a red card, while aggressive physical contact will also earn an instant sending-off.
More yellow cards are likely as referees have been told to book all players who run to officials, stand face to face with them or aggressively invade their personal space.
If a referee is surrounded by multiple players, he is mandated to book at least one of the offenders.