Premier League players and managers have been warned they face red cards for abusing match officials this season.
Not one player has been sent off in the Premier League for insulting or abusive language towards a match official in the last five seasons, but that could change, unless they quickly accept and adapt.
The Premier League, Football Association and English Football League on Wednesday announced an unnamed initiative seeking to address indiscipline in the game by reinforcing laws.
The grassroots-to-elite initiative is unnamed, but has been a topic of discussions for a year and has support from the Professional Football Association and the League Managers’ Association.
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said: “We’re looking to make a step change in the way our participants behave and how they are seen around the world.
“This is about players, about managers, and about referees.
“It starts with applying the laws of the game. There is no law change. The laws of the game allow for this to be managed.”
Crowding around and physical contact with match officials, dissent and technical area conduct are among the areas addressed.
Scudamore, who revealed the Premier League will for the first time meet players at all clubs prior to the season starting, added: “If participant behaviour doesn’t improve, then there will be more yellow and red cards.
“The game has put a huge effort into education, to try to ensure we don’t have this extra spate of yellow and red cards.
“But the game is prepared if we have them, to deal with it. We’ll keep on going and keep on going until the behaviour improves.
“The clubs are committed and we are committed to see this through.”