Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has another honor added to the list, though this one might be considered a bit more of the dubious variety. According to ESPN, Pochettino is the first manager to be disciplined by the Football Association for his actions on the touchline under a new series of rules. Pochettino has been handed a “Stage 1 infraction” — basically a warning — for an incident that took place during Spurs’ 3-1 win over Fulham at Wembley Stadium.
The new guidelines are an attempt by the Football Association to hold managers at all levels of the FA including the Premier League to greater account for their actions on the touchline, and to clarify what is and is not acceptable behavior. Managers can be given “Stage 1 infractions” if they do things like kick water bottles, flipping off or goading the refs, or repeatedly leaving the technical area. If you receive four “Stage 1” warnings, you receive a touchline ban for two matches, with additional penalties for continued infractions. These warnings do not replace ejections for more severe offenses that remain at the discretion of the match official.
As an example: Tim Sherwood taking off and throwing his gilet in disgust might constitute a Stage 1 warning; him squaring up to the match official on the pitch because he doesn’t like a call could still result in ejection.
Unfortunately, the FA doesn’t have to say in public what the infraction was actually FOR, so we don’t know what Poch did in the Fulham match to earn him the warning. All we know is that he’s apparently the first Premier League manager to get one this season. Neat! Way to blaze a new trail, Poch!