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Referees want the FA to ban players from coming within two meters of officials across the country.

It comes as the Premier League asks it’s men in the middle to warn players to abide by it’s coronavirus restrictions.

Officials remain concerned that while the authorities are instructing them to police players, not enough consideration is given to their own welfare.

Refsupportuk said: “It would be brilliant if the FA could also state that players should not intentionally be within 2 metres of a match official.

“There is no reason whatsoever for a player to be intentionally that close to a match official.”

Referees want more protection
(Image: Getty Images)

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The issues have been raised with the FA but have yet to be resolved.

The PGMOL is responsible for implementing protocols across the elite game but the FA insist the advice across both the professional and grassroots game is that social distancing should be maintained whenever possible.

They maintain that when interacting with a player for any reason, including issuing a warning or disciplinary sanction, a two-metre distance should indeed be maintained and that any physical contact with players should be minimised.

The FA's position is that referees have the power within their jurisdiction to take appropriate action if they feel this is being violated.

In the top division Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has written to all 20 clubs reiterating the importance of adhering to new, stricter coronavirus protocols.

Players celebrated goals in Tuesday night's three games, against advice, but Premier League bosses expect their latest warnings to have an impact across the next round of fixtures.

Players have been told to avoid hugging, handshakes and swapping shirts as the coronavirus protocols are raised in the wake of several outbreaks at clubs and a clutch of postponed matches.

Officials have been told to tell captains "the eyes of the world are on us and we need to set an example”.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston threw his support behind Masters' warning to Premier League clubs, issuing his own message to clubs.

"Everyone in the country has had to change the way they interact with people and ways of working," the Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire tweeted.

"Footballers are no exception. Covid secure guidelines exist for football.

"Footballers must follow them and football authorities enforce them – strictly.”