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Premier League to adopt rugby-style rules allowing only captains to approach referees

Premier League to adopt rugby-style rules allowing only captains to approach referees

Football’s lawmakers are gearing up for a global trial inspired by rugby rules, where only team captains will be authorised to communicate with referees about their decisions.

The Telegraph reports that the International Football Association Board (IFAB) is set to greenlight the initiative at its annual business meeting in London, opening the door for potential Premier League implementation as early as next year.

The groundbreaking measure stems from concerns surrounding escalating verbal and physical abuse against referees, seeking to protect the integrity of the game while addressing the issue at its core.

The use of sin-bins in professional football will be simultaneously discussed amid plans to mirror a system already operational in grassroots and youth competitions in England.

The focus on player behaviour management comes only a week after Howard Webb laid out directives aimed at penalising dissent in the Premier League.

The Professional Games Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) chief underlined those directives, specifically targeting actions such as players waving imaginary cards when fouled.

Tuesday’s IFAB meeting could also facilitate changes in handball rules. The current protocol mandates a red card and penalty for handling the ball on the goal line irrespective of intent.

However, IFAB will likely approve a change that would punish non-deliberate handballs with a booking, differentiating between deliberate and inadvertent infractions.


With the football community also grappling with the impact of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology, IFAB will discuss major updates to the system.

This review will serve as good news to several figures in the game, especially Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who never shies away from airing his discontent at the Premier League’s officiating standards, including VAR.

IFAB had already begun a series of consultations over potential changes ahead of its first concrete review of VAR technology since its introduction seven years ago

However, despite mounting calls for an overhaul or even scrapping the system, no proposed changes for trials are expected at the upcoming meeting, leaving the future of VAR still under scrutiny.

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