Darren Ferguson fined £1,000 by the FA after saying he would ‘shoot’ League One’s ‘appalling’ referees.

  • Doncaster manager Darren Ferguson has been fined £1,000 by the FA
  • He said he would ‘shoot’ League One’s referees after a 1-1 draw with Plymouth
  • Ferguson hit out at referee Andy Haines in his post-match press comments
  • The 45-year-old was annoyed when Haines ignored appeals for a spot kick

These were the headlines following Ferguson’s comments to BBC Radio Sheffield in a post match interview after a recent league game.

I know that his comments were made after he had witnessed his team denied what looked like a nailed on penalty kick.

However there is no excuse for his ‘shoot’ referee comment and referees around the country were appalled by the leniency shown by the Independent Regulatory Commission.

Is he not aware that he can talk to the referee and assessor thirty minutes after the game?

Is he not aware that he can contact the PGMOL direct?

The Football Association need to re-visit there protocols, for sadly once again, their lack of support for referees at all levels of the game borders on an unacceptable level of incompetence.

From where I am sitting there is a lack of independence and transparency and The FA who occasionally pop their head above the parapet and shout ‘Respect’ are failing their referees at all levels of the game.

Do they not understand that this type of comment tarnishes and damages the image of our great game and that grassroots player coming to the end of his playing career might be deterred from taking up the whistle?

Last week I watched three young officials controlling a North East Counties game in appalling weather conditions.

Kilimanjaro Academy winners
Mehdi (second left) won a YATR Academy competition to accompany Mark Halsey on a trip up Mt. Kilimanjaro

They were getting dogs abuse from spectators and this behaviour permeated onto the field of play where I witnessed players suddenly making life difficult for the young referee.

Having watched a referee develop and grow in stature, officiating games in Sheffield, it was very disappointing to receive a call from him announcing his resignation having been racially abused at a game at Worksop Town.

I am watching the correspondence with interest but witnessing a lack of urgency on the matter from the Football Association.

OUT OF SIGHT – OUT OF MIND…that is the Football Association who are at the moment are failing to protect and support their match officials by action.

They need to get out of their Ivory Tower and start to take action…

Have they not learned anything from the time they spent at the Houses of Parliament facing some uncomfortable questions from Ministers?

MEHDI NAJEFI WAS RACIALLY ABUSED WHILST RUNNING THE LINE AT WORKSOP TOWN…fact and that is why this intelligent young man has resigned from the game.

Don’t worry referees, across the country at the start of next season The FA will launch another 24 hour roll out of their ‘RESPECT CAMPAIGN’ supported by a few media sound bites telling us how much they love their match officials, and after all where would the game be without them

How fortunate I was in my career to have the support of two former Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association Secretary’s who DID support their referees.

The late Ernest Kangley and Geoffrey Thompson would not put up with this nonsense and bans and substantial fines were the order of the day.

The Football Association appear to be happy that spectators can racially abuse one of their referees and send out the wrong message by fining a manager a miserable £1000 fine for announcing to the world, let’s ‘SHOOT’ referees.

Are you not aware that referees like Mehdi are walking away from the game that they love?

Are you happy with your miserable suspension of a manager who manhandles the referee in a Football League game?



  1. Maybe the FA realised that the point of Fergies rant was true, refs at lower levels are unfit and get many decisions wrong because they can’t keep up. Refs are not and should not be immune to crticism when they have performed poorly. And Mr Hackett, you clearly have not listened to that interview, just gone on second and third hand reporting! Maybe the small fine was a token gesture by the FA because they realise there actually is a problem with the standard of refereeing in this Country!

  2. What a load of codswallop! Inaccurate garbage. Radio Sheffield reporter mike miney nearly wet himself with excitement at a scoop, rather than ask fergie to review his choice of words and edit interview accordingly. I would remove press access for bbc radio Sheffield if possible as they are the ones who have blown a joke comment out of all proportion.

    • I was at that game and the officiating was indeed terrible. Ferguson was obviously out of order with his throw away remark. The level of reporting was equally as terrible with their rhetorical questions and attempts to insight Ferguson to make some controversial comments. I agree with your assessment of the Radio Sheffield reporters delight at being centre stage for reporting the inflammatory remarks.
      Time for professional referees for professional football and they should be encouraging ex professional players to be fast tracked.

  3. I have to say I agree with Mr Hackett on this occasion. The punishments recently hadn’t out have been too lenient.

    The best way of improving standards of refereeing and fitness levels is to have a bigger pool of young people coming through to pick from and leniency towards disrespect of officials, or worse, cannot help this.

    With respect to the previous poster, no one is pretending there is not room for improvement in the standard of officiating and Mr Hackett is certainly not one to shirk giving out criticism if he feels it’s due. When made rationally and through the appropriate channels, which I understand are open to clubs, of course criticism of officials should be considered and taken on board if felt to be valid but there is a line which must not be allowed to be crossed.

    If that line is crossed then severe punishments should be handed out at every level of the game. From watching videos of the respective matches both Mr Ferguson and the recently banned Yeovil player had a right to feel aggrieved at poor decisions but that should not give them the right to call for referees to be shot or to pursue and make physical contact with a referee.

    What a shame the brief campaign for zero tolerance towards dissent seemingly was allowed to drift away like so many refereeing clampdowns.

  4. Any armchair referees out there may I suggest take the course get a kit & whistle then go do a game or two see just how hard it is then spout about it

  5. As a referee of 38years experience I still see the same problems now as when I started in 1979. Punishments handed out are no deterent. The County F A’s in paticularly are nowhere near strong enough at grassroots level .


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