Footballers in the wake of coronavirus can be sent off by referees if judged they have coughed deliberately at opponents or match officials.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) who disclosed this, said it was up to the referee to determine whether he felt the cough was an abusive gesture or not.
IFAB classified deliberate coughing as similar to “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”.
“As with all offences, the referee has to make a judgement about the true nature of the offence,” it said.
“If it were clearly accidental, then the referee would not take action nor if the ‘cough’ took place with a large distance between the players.
“However, where it is close enough to be clearly offensive, then the referee can take action.”
The FA’s guidance for grassroots football in England will come into force immediately.
“If the incident was not severe enough to merit a sending-off, caution could be issued for ‘unsporting behaviour’,” it wrote in a document.