Referees will reduce time-wasting and punish dissent next season

Football League referees have been told to clamp down on time-wasting, punish dissent and increase their threshold of contact for fouls – as the EFL introduce wide-scale changes ahead of the start of the new season

  • Referees in the Football League have been instructed to reduce time-wasting
  • They will also increase the threshold for penalising physical contacts in tackles
  • The Professional Game Match Officials Limited are committed to a better EFL
  • The 2021-22 season saw a record low for actual game time due to time-wasting 

English Football League referees will be told to increase their threshold of fouls, cut down on time wasting and ensure player behaviour does not overstep the mark ahead of the new season.

The PA news agency understands the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the governing body of match officials in England, is committed to making the EFL a better product for the forthcoming campaign, which gets under way this weekend.

It has worked with clubs, the EFL, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and League Managers Association (LMA) to ensure the key decisions made are acceptable to everyone in the game.

Referees across the Football League have been instructed to make changes this season

Officials have been instructed to adopt a higher threshold for penalising contact in challenges, taking into account how much contact there was, the consequences of it and what the attacking player’s motivation was. They will also be more vigilant of sustained holding at set-pieces.

After the 2021-22 campaign saw less playing time than ever before, referees will also be more proactive in curbing time-wasting and will be prepared to sanction players early on in the game.

Participation behaviour will also be strongly managed to ensure incidents of dissent and other poor behaviour are stamped out.

Officials will increase the threshold for awarding fouls for physical challenges in 2022-23

They will also clamp down on unacceptable behaviour from players

As well as the introduction of five substitutions this season, there is also a minor law change which sees goalkeepers now allowed to have one foot behind the goalline when facing a penalty.

Although last season’s play-off finals at Wembley had VAR, the decision-review system will not be in place for the forthcoming campaign.

The PGMOL is on a FIFA Working Group to help develop ‘VAR Light’ and its possible use, and that would be offered to the EFL if collectively the clubs in each division vote to implement it.

That would not be a quick thing to happen, though, with around 12 months needed to set it up.

The EFL campaign kicks off on Friday with Huddersfield hosting Burnley in the Championship.

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