COLCHESTER United get their new League Two season underway on Saturday.

And a series of strong measures have been introduced by English football authorities to help improve the behaviour of players, managers and coaches, in the 2023-24 campaign.

New policies, procedures, and regulations will come into force from the start of the season, to address unacceptable conduct on the pitch, on the sidelines and in the stands.

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It builds on the work carried out throughout last season to combat dangerous and illegal fan behaviour, supported by the ‘Love Football. Protect the Game’ football-wide campaign.

Gazette: Colchester United

A new Participant Charter has been collectively launched by The FA, Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League, Barclays Women’s Championship, National League System (Steps 1-4) and referees’ governing body PGMOL.

The charter, which was developed in partnership with the League Managers Association [LMA] and Professional Footballers’ Association [PFA], will see stronger measures for players, managers, coaches, support staff and club officials to adhere to on a matchday.

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EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: “Players and managers are looked up to and whether on the pitch, on the touchline or in the stands, we all have a role to play in protecting our game and making it an enjoyable place for all to enjoy the matchday.

“With over 22 million attending EFL games last season, vibrant, lively stadiums and contests on the pitch make our game so great, but there is a line, and we must all do our bit to check, challenge and address behaviour that crosses the line.


“These measures build on the work of last season, and I hope they improve the matchday experience yet further in what is promising to be another memorable season.”

Under the new approach, match officials can now take more robust action alongside a consistent application of the existing measures when participant behaviour falls below expected standards, and The FA will apply stronger supplementary disciplinary action.

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Captains are expected to take responsibility for their team-mates, encouraging them to play fairly and show respect towards the match officials and their decisions.

Where match officials are confronted, surrounded or their personal space invaded by multiple players, at least one player will receive a card and The FA could also take further action against the club.


The new measures will include a technical area code of conduct to require managers, coaches and other club staff members to behave in a responsible manner, increased financial penalties for serious and repeat offenders and academy players to  take part in refereeing courses to improve players’ education into officiating.

For the grassroots game, the trial of bodycams for referees will continue into the 2023/24 season, while a new code of conduct will be introduced to set behavioural expectations and embed usage.

Regulation changes and tough new measures have been introduced to challenge the totally unacceptable presence of football tragedy abuse.

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People who are found to have committed offences face stadium bans and potential criminal prosecution.

In addition to bans and criminal sanctions, a range of in-stadium, in-classroom and online resources will be rolled out under the ‘Love Football Protect the Game’ banner, to educate adults and children alike about the hurt tragedy chanting causes.

To support the rehabilitation of those identified as having engaged in negative matchday behaviour, a new pilot scheme is now in development phase which will refer young people to a restorative justice education programme.

The programme will seek to inform and educate about the impact of their behaviour on others.

The scheme is being run by the Premier League, EFL, Premier League Community Fund and the EFL Trust with support from local police forces and will be trialled at ten clubs across the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two.