Officials of the Premier League are ready to lock up any player in Police cells who violates the latest Covid-19 restrictions on the field of play.
According to The Sun of UK report, players will be sent off for deliberately coughing at opponents and could face police action under the FA’s coronavirus rules.
The FA have provided new guidance for match officials taking charge of games with Covid-19 restrictions in place, The Times report.
It applies to all levels of the game and will be in place immediately.
The rules state referees should send a player off if there is a “clear act” of coughing towards someone.
Targeted coughing is also seen as a potential criminal offence by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Deliberate coughing is now deemed on a similar level to a physical assault.
Both would warrant a red card on the pitch and potentially a police action afterward.
Atletico Madrid were forced to condemn striker Diego Costa after he appeared to cough towards members of the media in March.
The apparent prank was right after Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League at Anfield.
Referees have been told they are not responsible for policing social distancing during goal celebrations.
They will also not be able to punish players for spitting.
Spitting on the pitch was banned under the FA’s protocol when football returned in June.
But referees cannot take action should a player spit – they can only ask them not to.