Coughing deliberately in the direction of a fellow player or referee is an offence punishable by a yellow or red card. That’s according to England’s Football Association (FA) new issued safety rules amid the deadly coronavirus.
Players can now be sent off to have an early shower if the referee believes they have coughed at opponents or match officials intentionally.
According to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), referees are in a position to judge whether they felt a player’s cough was an abusive gesture as deliberate coughing is now considered the same offence as “using offensive, insulting or abusive language or gestures.”
“If it were clearly accidental, then the referee would not take action nor if the cough took place with a large distance between the players. However, where it is close enough to be clearly offensive, then the referee can take action,” added the IFAB.
While, the FA stated in a document that if an incident was not severe enough to merit a sending-off, caution could be issued for ‘unsporting behaviour’.
The Association went on to say that referees should avoid punishing footballers for “routine coughing as their “action can only be supported where it is evident it was a clear act against someone else.”
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By FARPost Reporter