Under the normal circumstances, players in English premier league are punished due to foul
play, derogatory or racists statements towards other players or referees and improper conduct.
The severity of punishment determines a harsher penalty ranging from issuance of Yellow card
or Red Card and subsequent suspension in two to three matches.
However, since we are living in extra-ordinary times of Covid 19 pandemic, the Premier League
governing committee, FA have deliberated on further punishments that will lead those players
that cough intentionally and by determination of referee is punishable and may be issued a
yellow card or red card for the offense.
“New rule for 2020/2021 season, Premier Leagues and EFL seasons. A player will receive a red
card if they show gesture of coughing in another players face or any of the match officials” reads
the statement from the Football Association (FA). They association officials met in Birmingham,
United in deliberations in raft of policies for next season.
This new rule instituted by FA is definitely to respond to safety of players and officials and
congruent with WHO guidelines on coronavirus pandemic mitigation to prevent spread in the
league if players are potentially affected.
One of the notable symptoms of the coronavirus is frequent coughing and if the infected persons
coughs to the face of other people then higher chances they can infect others.
Needless to say, coughing hasn’t been banned but the offense of coughing on the face of other
players or the match officials more less like spitting which has been punishable all along which
in normal circumstance is construed as malice and improper conduct.
The new directive will take effect in the season beginning on September 2020 and ends in May
2021.
The FA further states that they will involve the police in the instance the players intentional
coughs in what underscores the importance and consequential intent of the new rule in the light
of Covid 10 pandemic and ensuring safety of players.
The FA introduction of new rule on coughing is similar to that of video assistant referee (VAR)
which has been touted as a bold move despite the criticism from some quarters due to its

ineffectiveness and errors signaling the need to be bold as the technology is catching up with the
sport.
The football players and stakeholders are stunned and amused by the new regulations and as the
new season start approaches, it will be intriguing to see the consequences of the new FA
regulations.

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