IFAB: Football lawmakers want more powers for captains

Man Utd players surround the referee
Unlike sports such as rugby union, there are no laws in football governing which players are allowed to speak to the referee

Captains would be the only players permitted to speak to referees about "major incidents", should a proposal from football's lawmakers be adopted.

The matter will be discussed at the International Football Association Board (Ifab) annual meeting at Wembley.

Ifab are keen to reach a decision in principle at Friday's gathering.

"The captain should be more than somebody who has a piece of material on their arm," Ifab technical director David Elleray told BBC Sport.

"Can we consult them more about how the game should be played? Should we encourage much better relationships between the captains and players? Should the captain also bear more responsibility?"

Former Premier League referee Elleray believes the measures may stop players crowding around referees, as only the captain would have the authority to talk to officials after what he describes as "major incidents".

"If that stops six players from each team going to talk the referee that will enhance respect and improve respect for the game," he said.

"When I was refereeing, sometimes you could say to a captain 'have a word with Freddy because he's getting quite close to a yellow card' and he could calm him down.

"You could explain decisions to a good captain and he could pass that on."

Elleray confirmed that discussions have already taken place with an expert panel of players, coaches and referees and that there is widespread support for the plans.

Yellow card sin-bins

Other items on the agenda include a proposal to introduce sin-bins for yellow-card offences.

The measure has been tested in Uefa development competitions and some amateur leagues in recent years. If approved, sin-bins will come in at youth and amateur levels and could be introduced to the professional game within two to three years.

Ifab will also talk about allowing national associations more freedom to decide on the number of substitutions in a game.

The move is intended to help the development of the game at lower levels, "by promoting and encouraging more people to take part".

Ifab is made up of Fifa and the four British home associations - the FAs of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - and is responsible for making the final decision on law changes.

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