The FA imposed new rules at the start of the new season, hoping to tackle foul play, behaviour and conduct. We take a look at how the new regulations are bedding in.
So far after only two matchdays, the new player behaviour directive has already begun to spark a host of controversies which is due in large part to the inconsistency of referees in effectively following these new rules.
Mike Dean appears to be an advocate of the new code of conduct as he thoroughly executed them in the game which saw Manchester City take on Stoke last Saturday.
Two key occurrences in that game involved players from both sides and each of them were gifted a penalty as a result of their respective players’ non-compliance with the new directives.
The first incident saw Ryan Shawcross get penalised for shirt pulling and grappling inside the 18-yard-area during a Manchester City set play. It was obviously another instance of ungentlemanly conduct from the defender who is well known for making rash conduct.
At the other end of the pitch, Raheem Sterling gave away a penalty when he deliberately obstructed Ryan Shawcross from chasing the ball during a Stoke City corner while not focusing on play.
The Sterling incident, in particular, proved to be a huge talking point due to the fact that the England International neither grappled nor pulled Shawcross’s shirt, but prevented him from contributing to play during a set-piece, which according to the new FA rules calls for a penalty in the 18-yard-area.
Mike Dean who apparently seems keen on refereeing by the new regulations got both decisions spot on but as seen across different match centres last weekend; not everybody will get penalised for shirt-pulling and grappling in the penalty area this season.
Forwards will benefit a great deal from the stringent new PL rules as defenders won’t be too keen on making rash challenges due to the potential penalty that awaits.
Players can’t contend with or question the decisions of referees as that alone can call for an automatic booking.
The Premier League has undergone massive changes in the last four years, first with goal-line technology and now with the new rules.
Other top European Leagues still maintain the traditional physical style of play, especially from set-piece situations.
Shirt-pulling and grappling are part and parcel of the game; they will continue to remain in all other elite competitions except the Premier League.
If referees fail to make the right calls during games under the new rules, then more talking points will spring up every weekend which in turn will create a cause for concern due to the grey areas associated with the new regulations.