Red and yellow cards for managers as FA reveals plans for player-style disciplinary system on the touchline
Managers will be issued with red and yellow cards this season after the Football Association announced plans for a player-style disciplinary system on the touchline.
Referees will hand out formal bookings for offences in the technical area, with managers facing automatic touchline bans if they reach four cautions. Yellow and red cards will be shown in all Football League competitions and the FA Cup, while the Premier League will adopt the same system but without the use of cards.
Managers will be responsible for the actions of their backroom staff so could be yellow-carded even if their own behaviour is not to blame. Cautions, which the FA describes as “stage one warnings”, will be given for offences including bad language towards officials, “sarcastic clapping”, dissent and waving imaginary cards.
Four yellow cards will lead to a one-match touchline ban, eight yellow cards will mean a two-match ban while 16 cards will lead to an FA misconduct hearing.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “There has always been a disciplinary procedure in place to deal with behaviour on benches but unless you are the manager who has been spoken to by the referee or the referee, it has never been clear what was going on.
“So what we have agreed is that if the behaviour of any person on the bench – usually led by the manager – reaches a level which we believe to be not appropriate, like a caution on the pitch to a player, the referee will issue a yellow card to the bench.
“If the inappropriate behaviour continues, there is an opportunity for a second yellow card to be issued, which at that stage the manager will be asked to leave the technical area.
“Ultimately, if there is a serious incident, then the manager will be show a red card and asked to leave for the stands.
“That used to be obvious because the manager would pack his bags and head to the stands.
“But by doing things this way, fans will have a better idea of what is going on.”
Straight red cards will be shown to managers for stage-two offences. Harvey believes making managers responsible for the behaviour of their staff will stop pre-planned attempts to harangue officials.
Harvey added: “The manager is held ultimately responsible for the conduct on his bench.
“So this stops what has happened over several years, where the manager will have a go at the ref until he feels he is getting close and then he takes a step back and his assistant manager takes over.
“It has been known to run down all the way down to the physio.
“This time last year we were talking about dissent and improving that on the pitch. Moving into this area with the bench is sensible way forward.
“This is not about creating a drama. It is about making sure behaviour doesn’t decline further.”