The International Board (IFAB), the body responsible for maintaining and changing football rules, is studying the possibility of implementing a temporary expulsion to reduce aggression and complaints from players towards referees. According to the newspaper “The Times”, the topic will be addressed in IFAB meetings, which would see finding solutions to preserve the judges as a priority.
Among the possibilities would be a new type of disciplinary punishment during games, going beyond yellow and red cards. Referees could temporarily expel players from the match, for 10 minutes, if they consider that an athlete has gone too far in complaining about a decision.
This measure would have already been tested in youth competitions in England since 2019 and would have pleased those involved.
– Players may not worry as much about receiving a yellow card for saying something inappropriate to the referee, but it can make a big difference if they know it means part of the game is off the field – said Lukas Brud, IFAB CEO.
Another measure that could prevent scenes of athletes surrounding referees for complaints would be mirrored in rugby: only captains would be authorized to address match officials. They would be responsible for passing on team complaints and also for returning the referee’s instructions to their teammates.
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According to the IFAB, there is great concern that the role of referee will be discredited in football, since professionals, especially younger ones, have reported suffering from anxiety for fear of suffering physical or verbal attacks.
– There is a big problem with retaining referees or motivating people to start refereeing. They see what is happening on the field, they feel the abuse and they are afraid of aggression. It starts at the top. What football idols do in a match, children and adults in amateur football will copy the next day – commented the IFAB CEO.