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Premier League to clamp down on players harassing referees

Premier League players have been warned they face harsher punishments for harassing referees as part of a raft of measures aimed at stamping out bad behaviour on the pitch.

English football’s authorities aim to “reset” the attitude from players and managers towards officials in the coming season.

A series of measures intended to tackle the issue were revealed on Monday ahead of the Premier League campaign kicking off on August 11.

The new ‘Participant Charter’ empowers referees to take tougher action against unacceptable behaviour, backed up by stronger disciplinary action from the Football Association.

Serious and repeat offenders can expect to face increased financial penalties, while referees will be encouraged to issue at least a yellow card if they are surrounded by two or more players.

Managers can also expect to be punished if they leave the technical area on the touchline to “enter the pitch to confront any match official at half-time or full-time”.

“We want players, managers and fans to continue showing their passion, but these new measures have been introduced to ensure that the line is not crossed when it comes to on-field and technical area behaviour,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham added: “Football has the power to unite and inspire all those that play and watch the game. However, sometimes, this can be negatively impacted by a small minority of players, coaches and fans.

“Our collective approach is to reset this behaviour on the pitch and from the sidelines, whilst giving our referees the respect and protection that they deserve.”

Off the field, clubs in the Premier League and the Football League will seek stronger sanctions against fans found to be involved in football tragedy abuse, such as chanting about the Hillsborough or Munich disasters.

“Incidents such as dangerous conduct, discrimination, and chanting about football-related tragedies have no place in our game — and can lead to football bans and potential criminal action,” Bullingham said.

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