The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Football players can now be red-carded for deliberately coughing, international football board says

Tuesday, 4 August 2020, 11:38 Last update: about 3 months ago

Football players who deliberately cough at other players or match officials can be red-carded, football’s lawmakers said on Tuesday.

The International Football Association Board (Ifab) said that such an offence fell within “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures” and was punishable with a red card.

"As with all offences, the referee has to make a judgement about the true nature of the offence", Ifab said.

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The guidance comes as the world faces the Covid-19 pandemic.  Sport in most countries has restarted with several restrictions, namely that spectators are still not allowed into grounds, in place.

"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," added Ifab.

"However, where it is close enough to be clearly offensive, then the referee can take action."

England’s Football Association is also supporting these rules and will implement them in the English game.

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