Players who intentionally cough on a match official or opponent can be shown red or yellow cards under new rules announced by the English Football Association (FA), according to Reuters.
The guidelines will come into immediate effect and be applied to all levels of football in England as part of coronavirus protocols.
According to the FA, coughing offenses fall into the same category as "using offensive, insulting, or abusive language and/or gestures."
"If the incident was not severe enough to merit a sending-off, a caution could be issued for ‘unsporting behavior - shows a lack of respect for the game,'" the FA's document said.
The governing body specified that match officials must be mindful not to brandish cards for "routine" coughing and that players should continue to avoid spitting on the pitch, though it is not required under FA rules.