The A-League and the W-League are to become the first top-level competitions to trial red and yellow cards for coaches and other team officials.
The move is aimed to improve the behaviour of team officials towards match officials.
It will be implemented in this weekend’s round of fixtures, with the head of A-League and W-League, Greg O’Rourke, saying cards for coaches would help “better communicate to fans that the referees are giving the coaches and others formal warnings”.
Coaches and officials will serve bans similar to players when reaching a certain number of cards.
The initiative will also be trialed when the National Youth League begins and O’Rourke is hoping that it will trigger improved attitudes to match officials that will filter down to grassroots level.
“Referees already have a process which is by way of conversation to coaches to warn them before removing them from the technical area after poor behaviour,” O’Rourke said.
“Essentially, this trial will visualise those steps and as such better communicate to fans that the referees are giving the coaches and others formal warnings.
“It will help fans and viewers better understand the issues that match officials face on a weekly basis and help promote respect towards them.
“Importantly it will send a strong message throughout the game at grassroots level that poor behaviour towards match officials and opposition team officials is unacceptable and carries consequences.
“In addition, we have also updated our regulations so this consequence of accumulating yellow cards for team officials will be in line with the same regulations for players and will lead to coaches and other team officials being required to miss games when the accumulation reaches the thresholds.”
Behaviours such as kicking/throwing drink bottles and gestures which show clear “lack of respect” for match officials such as “sarcastic clapping” and “not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area” will draw a caution from the referee. The trial, approved by the International Football Advisory Board (Ifab), is part of its global “Play Fair” initiative.