Gary Neville has stated that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has influenced Premier League rule changes with his touchline antics.
This season, there will be harsher sanctions for managers and coaching staff who overstep the rules whilst on the sidelines during matches. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta got his first taste of these stricter new rules when he was booked for brandishing an imaginary yellow card during his side’s Community Shield clash with Manchester City on Sunday.
Referees will be taking a firm stand against managers and coaching staff who overstep the bounds of their technical areas, enter the pitch, or confront any official. Equally, only one member of the club’s coaching staff, including the manager, is allowed to be positioned at the front of the technical area at any time. Managers must also attend a pre-game briefing with the officials before each match.
Throughout his managerial career so far, Arteta has been an excitable, energetic presence on the touchline. He coaches from the edge of the pitch, constantly gesticulating, barking instructions, and haranguing the fourth official. He isn’t alone in this behaviour. All top flight managers seem to be constantly in the ear of the nearest official, and Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp often match Arteta in terms of dugout exuberance.
Discussing these rule changes on The Overlap, Gary Neville said that, “they had this sort of briefing in pre-season about touchline behaviour, and they said that Arteta was a big reason that was brought in.”
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An overreaction to Arteta’s entertainment factor
If Arteta indeed was the primary inspiration behind these rule changes, then it seems like an overreaction from the governing bodies. The Spanish coach’s behaviour wasn’t greatly in excess of that of his counterparts.
What’s more, Premier League football is primarily an entertainment product. Officious handwringing aside, animated and passionate managers are more fun to watch, both in the stadium and on television. Arteta has played a huge part in transforming the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium in recent seasons, and the frantic energy he exudes and transmits is part of that. The controversy and debate it causes is also part of the Premier League entertainment package.
Of course, referees and officials need to be respected and the trickle-down of behaviours to grassroots level is an issue, but these measures won’t solve those problems, they’ll simply inflame the issue for a while and then, in all likelihood, get forgotten about and ignored.