According to new player behaviour rules announced by the Premier League, English Football League and Football Association, red cards could be issued for “excessive passive aggression, like tutting or eye-rolling”.
The new laws, to be introduced for the 2016-17 season, come in response to a sharp rise of incidents in recent years of players muttering under their breath or saying things like “fine, whatever”.
Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said there has been concern “for some time” that players have been “overstepping the mark” by “saying ‘I’m coming’ in a really testy way to referees beckoning them over for a talking-to”.
Speaking exclusively to Football Burp, Scudamore added that there would also be a crackdown on the passive-aggressive use of multiple quotations within a sentence as if to invite ridicule on the speaker.
He said: “You just did it, two paragraphs ago – three separate quotations strung together by minor filler words, when you could easily have paraphrased me.
“It’s almost as if you’re trying to imply that these new rules – and, by extension, me – are not worth taking even remotely seriously.
“No, that’s fine. You’re entitled to your opinion. Yeah, you go ahead.”