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By ESPN Staff

FA move to outlaw players' ranting at refs

FA chiefs hope the Premier League will embrace a new rule where only team captains can talk to referees in a bid to improve player behaviour.

A pilot scheme of the project, which is called Respect, is being carried out at grass-roots level in 20 amateur leagues until the end of the season.

FA director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking said if it was successful he hoped the professional game would then adopt the rule.

Brooking told PA Sport: 'We are all conscious about the overall image of the game and we know that player behaviour at the highest level can be transferred to the grass-roots, particularly with youngsters.

'We are carrying out this pilot project until the summer and it would be ideal if it could then be incorporated right across the board.

'I am sure that many managers would welcome it because it could help eliminate some of those unnecessary bookings that are picked up by players through back-chat to referees or by reacting in the wrong sort of way.

'It is something that we would like to discuss with the boards of the Premier League and the Football League.'

FA chief executive Brian Barwick has made implementing the rule a personal priority.

The pilot project is operating across 20 adult and youth leagues in seven county FAs.

The move was partly sparked by the FA's consultation exercise in grass-roots football, involving around 20,000 respondents, which identified player behaviour towards referees and spectator behaviour towards players as the two biggest priorities to tackle.

The pilot scheme also includes roped-off areas for spectators and codes of conduct for players, coaches and parents with associated sanctions.