Ask the Ref: Manager red and yellow cards are a good idea to help officials make their point
There will be a flash of colour in the technical areas from the beginning of the new season. No, not any crazy fashion statements from the managers or coaches, but the colour of red and yellow cards that can now be shown to them, instead of just to their players.
The FA has announced that staff in the technical area will be issued cards for irresponsible behaviour from the start of the 2018-19 campaign. Although this new initiative will not come into effect in the Premier league, only in the FA Cup, Football League, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and National League.
Many fans might wonder if giving a yellow card to a manager is a good idea? I think it's a great step forward as competitions strive to project a better image of their product.
There have been countless situations recently where technical staff have reacted against decisions that the match officials have made, or not made in some cases. Some have done so in the right way, but far too many have come complete with theatrical reactions that nobody wants to see.
Many times we have witnessed a manager or coach being spoken to by the referee, many time we have seen them sent from the technical area to the stands. What has always been needed, and what this imitative delivers, is a halfway house - a situation where everybody knows that another outburst will be dealt with more severely.
As a result the manager or coach will realise that his or her behaviour needs to be tempered if they are sitting on a yellow card, much like a player who has just been cautioned.
During my career, I would certainly have liked to have the option of issuing a card to a manager. Rather than just talking to them, everybody would have been aware of the situation with the card acting as my communication tool.
I remember officiating a match at the Etihad stadium when Manchester City were hosting Everton (a 2-0 win for Everton in march 2010) and the two respective managers at the time were Roberto Mancini and David Moyes. After 89 minutes, with the scoreline extremely tight, the ball went out for a throw-in just adjacent to the technical area.
There was a scramble for the ball by both managers: one eager return it; the other not in so much of a hurry. My fourth official that evening was Howard Webb, who asked me to come over and deal with the situation -- I duly confronted both managers and sent them to the stands for their actions.
Maybe if I had the opportunity to issue each one with a warning (via a yellow card) it may have had the desired effect of diffusing the situation. But, instead, each manager walked down the tunnel arm in arm as if nothing had happened and it was me who made the headlines.
I will be watching this new directive with interest, as I'm sure the Premier League will. If giving a card to manager helps the officials do their job better, and diffuse situations without putting themselves in the spotlight, then it can only be good for the game.