Bristol City tell clubs they won’t kick ball out for injuries
Championship side have said they have new policy of allowing the referee to control game
Bristol City refused to kick the ball out of play during their Championship meeting with Leeds. Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Bristol City have written to every Championship club to tell them that they will not kick the ball out of play for any opposing player unless they have suffered a head injury.
The club’s manager, Lee Johnson, explained the new policy following an incident in the 3-1 home defeat by Leeds in which midfielder Mateusz Klich went down but City played on, leading to angry scenes on the touchline as coaching staff from both sides confronted each other.
“It’s fine. We sent an email out to the clubs because this happens often,” Johnson said. “Somebody goes down and sometimes it’s tactical, because people try and gain an advantage and sometimes it’s genuine.
“So we just decided as a club that we’re going to make a rule for the 46 games that we’re going to let the referee manage the game. So therefore if that’s our player injured or the opposition player injured, there’s a consistency there.”
Johnson and Marcelo Bielsa emerged from the tunnel late after half-time as the Bristol City manager tried to explain the club’s decision to his Leeds counterpart.
“If the referee sees a head injury he will stop the game but if it’s not a head injury he will play on,” said Johnson. “And our players are coached to play with 10 men in certain environments. And that’s what I was trying to explain [to Bielsa]. Obviously that’s not easy with the language barrier but in the cold light of day we were able to sit and talk it through.”