Rule changes ahead of 2018/19 season

Ahead of the start of the 2018/19 campaign, the following rule changes have been introduced and clarified by the EFL.

Misconduct in the Technical Area

Changes have been made to the Code of Conduct which sets out the behaviours expected of occupants of the technical area and establishes how the match officials will implement the Code of Conduct in order to protect the reputation of the EFL and its competitions. The changes are outlined below.

Stage 1 warnings

  • For any activity considered to be irresponsible behaviour the 4th official will advise the referee at an appropriate stoppage in the game. The referee will delay the re-start of the game and issue a formal Stage 1 warning to the person and show the yellow card.

  • Irresponsible behaviour includes but is not limited to:

    • Inappropriate language and / or gestures towards the match officials which are an obvious show of dissent or an attempt to influence the decisions of the match officials
    • Kicking or throwing water bottles, coats or other similar objects in an obvious show of dissent
    • Sarcastic clapping and / or other gestures intended to undermine the authority of the match officials
    • Entering the opponents’ technical area in an inappropriate manner
    • Gesturing waving an imaginary yellow / red card

a)    Automatic suspensions for accumulating Stage 1 warnings in the technical area

  • 4 warnings – 1 match ban
  • 8 warnings – 2 match ban
  • 12 warnings - 3 match ban
  • 16+ - FA misconduct charge
  • No cut-off date

Stage 2 (Misconduct Action):

Where a person either:

b)    continually fails to comply with the general requirements of the Code or displays further acts of irresponsible behaviour as outlined in Stage 1 above having in both cases received a formal Stage 1 warning from the referee or;

c)    commits a singular act of serious irresponsible behaviour that in the opinion of the 4th Official surpasses the requirement for a formal Stage 1 warning

The 4th official will advise the referee who, at an appropriate stoppage in play, will instruct the person to leave the technical area and go to the designated location identified by the Competition show a direct red card. If this occurs during half-time (or half-time in extra time) the person will be instructed not to return to the technical area.

The system will be adopted in all EFL competitions, including all three divisions of the Sky Bet EFL, the Carabao Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy.

Full details available via

Hand-held devices

The Code of Conduct now also permits the use of small hand-held electronic devices in the Technical Area.

However, use of the devices will have been breached if managers or coaches are thought to have:

  • Received external communication which is used to discuss incidents with the match officials

  • Used communication devices for anything other than player welfare and/or tactical/coaching purposes

  • Used any technology other than small hand-held communication devices.

Transfer Window

Following a decision of Clubs in February 2018, the Summer Transfer Window closes for permanent transfers on Thursday 9 August 2018 at 5pm. 

Clubs are still permitted to sign players on standard loan until 5pm on August 31, 2018. The January transfer window is unaffected. 

Club Developed Players

A Club Developed Player is one who has been registered with an EFL Club for a minimum of 12 months prior to the end of his Under 19 Season.

From the start of the 2018/19 season, each EFL Club must include at least one Club Developed Player on a team sheet for each Sky Bet EFL Match (including Play Offs).

This is in addition to the requirement for at least seven Home Grown Players in those matches.

Where any club does not name a Club Developed Player on the team sheet, that Club will only be permitted to name up to six (rather than seven) substitutes on that team sheet. 

The Club Developed and Home Grown Player requirements do not apply to Carabao Cup or Checkatrade Trophy Games. 

Carabao Cup Rules

The following key changes have been made to Carabao Cup Rules:

  • Removal of extra time in all rounds up to and including the semi-finals, with ties being decided on penalties. This includes the second leg of the semi-final, and the away goals rule will no longer apply.

  • Clubs participating in the final will still be able to play a 4th substitute in extra time.

  • Return to the traditional approach of ‘ABAB’ format for taking penalties.
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