FA bans pre-match referee comments

LONDON - The English Football Association (FA) has banned team managers, players and club officials from making media comments about referees before a game as it bids to clamp down on intimidation of match officials. "Clubs are also being advised separately that any media comments by managers, players or any other club officials relating to appointed match officials prior to a fixture will no longer be allowed," the FA said in a statement. "Such pre-match comments will be deemed improper and dealt with accordingly." The FA said post-match comments were still allowed as long as they were not personal, implied bias, attacked the integrity of match officials or brought the game into disrepute. The FA also said it would now charge clubs if three or more players surrounded a referee in a "confrontational manner". Previously, officials were required to report any such harassment before any action was taken.