Referees will be encouraged to issue red and yellow cards to misbehaving coaches and team officials during a trial in Australia’s top-flight men’s and women’s leagues.
Football Federation Australia have confirmed the A-League and W-League would be the first top-tier domestic competitions to receive approval from the Zurich, Switzerland-based International Football Association Board to conduct the trial, starting on Friday.
Coaching and support staff can be barred from the playing area under existing regulations, but the use of the red and yellow cards will allow spectators to see when cautions and ejections have been imposed just as they do when players are sanctioned on the field.
Coaches and staff risk being sent from the field for repeated infringements including kicking or throwing water bottles, delaying the restart of the game or for using offensive language or gestures toward match officials, rival teams or fans.
“Referees already have a process which is by way of conversation to coaches to warn them before removing them from the technical area after poor behaviour,” Greg O’Rourke, head of the A-League and W-League, said.
“Essentially, this trial will visualize those steps and as such better communicate to fans that the referees are giving the coaches and others formal warnings.
“It will help fans and viewers better understand the issues that match officials face on a weekly basis and help promote respect toward them.”
O’Rourke said the FFA would update its regulations so that the consequence of accumulating yellow cards for team officials will mirror those applied to players, and game suspensions can be imposed.
Other instances of “serious irresponsible behaviour” that could warrant a red card for team officials, according to the FFA, include violent and aggressive behaviour, spitting at any person or leaving the technical area and acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner.