Players could be sent off if they deliberately cough at an opponent under new guidance issued in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sport
Referees will be informed that any such act, if aimed at the face of another player or official, can be deemed a red-card offence.
The new guidance has come from the International Football Association Board, the body which determines the laws of the game.
An IFAB spokesperson told the PA news agency: “Given the current situation relating to Covid-19, if a player deliberately coughed in the face of another player, team official or match official, this could be deemed to fall within the Law 12 sending-off offence of ‘using offence, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures’.”
The guidance adds that referees will need to make a judgement on whether the cough was deliberate and also take into account the distance between the people involved.