Former FIFA Referee Brian Miiro Nsubuga red cards Ibrahim Kiyemba

In wake of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has okayed the penalization of spitting and other related actions to avoid the chances of spreading this disease.

This was confirmed by the FIFA Referees Committee chairman Pierluigi Collina in a statement to the 211 FIFA member associations, including Uganda.

In light of the major impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world and football, there is a  view to avoiding the possible spread of the virus, certain competition organisers have issued protocols recommending that players refrain from spitting and similar actions (e.g. nose-clearing) during matches.   

FIFA Referees Committee chairman Pierluigi Collina
Team captains Denis Onyango (second left) with the Malawian counterpart John Banda and the match officials prior to kick off

“Spitting at someone” is a sending-off (red-card) offence under the Laws of the Game.

However, where spitting does not fall into this category, it would be impractical to make it a yellow-card (YC) offence because it is impossible for the match officials to detect every incident, as spitting can occur anywhere on the pitch, at any time and often away from play (e.g. as players move to take up a position before the next sequence of play).

 Consequently, treating “general” spitting and other such actions as a yellow card offence during matches would lead to inconsistency and unfairness. 

Therefore, where a competition wishes to enforce protocols regarding spitting (and other related areas), any disciplinary decision should be taken by the relevant competition organiser or member association after the match.

The Coronavirus pandemic has plugged the entire world in panic causing as many deaths as over 6,000,000 people.

About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19):

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.

How It Spreads:

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales.

These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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