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    Author: Jason Pettigrove

    Another fairly underwhelming set of appointments from PGMOL and one in particular pops right out at you.

    Let’s just say that Mark Hughes, who’s never short of a word or two for the officials, will bemoan his luck again this week.

    If Hull can get a win away at Southampton then Sunderland have to win against Bournemouth unless they want to be all but mathematically relegated.

    Let’s see who’s out and about on week 35 of the Premier League campaign …

    Mike DeanMike Dean

    Southampton v Hull City
    29/04 - 15.00

    Assistants: I. Hussin and S. Long
    Fourth official: P. Tierney

    Another must win game for Hull but you wouldn’t bet against Marco Silva pulling it off.

    The one thing that potentially hampers the Tigers’ survival bid for another week is the long journey down – by a distance Hull’s longest of the season.

    Mike Dean – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 26 (11 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 10
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2

    With nothing to play for, Southampton will be relaxed going into this fixture, which is dangerous for an opponent that needs to go all out for the three points.

    Mike Dean is universally disliked by supporters of both sides. His ‘catwalk strut’ walk on for the Saints’ game against Burnley was the pre-cursor to a 90 minutes back in October that can best be described as error-strewn.

    That it was all in front of the TV cameras only served to highlight what a poor game the whistler had.

    Hull still can’t forgive him for a number of decisions that went against them in an FA Cup tie against Arsenal.

    This one could be unexpectedly explosive as a result!

    Lee Probert

    Lee Probert

    Stoke City v West Ham United
    29/04 - 15.00

    Assistants: S. Beck and D. Eaton
    Fourth official: C. Pawson

    Oh no no no no. PGMOL, what are you doing?

    Whilst you have to feel for Lee Probert, coming back as he has from a long-term injury, this really isn’t the time to be throwing him to the lions.

    Lee Probert – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 2 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 5
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    His purpose would surely be better served working on his fitness behind the scenes with a view to having him fighting fit and ready for the start of next season.

    As it is, the official will make just his second start of the campaign at the Britannia Stadium.

    Mark Hughes doesn’t need an excuse to berate the man in the middle and so he has a ready made one here, though it has been three years since he took charge of a Stoke game.

    West Ham are teetering on the precipice and are not out of the woods at the bottom, so need a strong performance from Probert.

    The question mark as to whether this is a bridge too far for the man in the middle will only be answered at the end of the game, but on the face of it, not too much thought has been given to this appointment by the powers that be.

    stuart-attwellStuart Attwell

    Sunderland v Bournemouth
    29/04 - 15.00

    Assistants: S. Child and S. Ledger
    Fourth official: A. Taylor

    A decent game in prospect at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland aim to delay their relegation for another week.

    It does seem a fruitless task but it will at least focus minds on the job in hand.

    Stuart Attwell – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 10 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 20
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 9

    Bournemouth will allow the hosts to play and by bringing their own brand of expansive, attacking football, we should see a spectacle more befitting of the mid to top of the table sides, rather than a boring 0-0.

    Stuart Attwell is handed his 10th appointment of the season, the most he’s earned in any one Premier League season.

    Though it’s still well down on a number of his contemporaries, it does indicate a willingness from PGMOL to continue to push him forward at the elite level.

    All power to a man who was widely ridiculed just a few years ago.

    Running the gauntlet every week is a fact of life for most referees, more so for Attwell, but to his credit, he’s still been willing to stick his head above the parapet.

    Here’s to another classy interpretation of the rules.

    Mark Clattenburg

    Mark Clattenburg

    West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City
    29/04 - 15.00

    Assistants: D. Cann and R. West
    Fourth official: R. East

    Surprisingly, Mark Clattenburg returns for another late season appointment, but what’s no surprise from PGMOL is that it’s at the Hawthorns again. It’s almost become the officials very own home ground, he’s been stationed there so often.

    Mark Clattenburg – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 22 (10 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 4
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    A feisty midlands derby can be expected so it’s not all bad news as it’s bound to be a fixture that Clattenburg will enjoy overseeing.

    After looking like they might pinch a European spot at one point, Tony Pulis’ side have fallen out of contention and only have Premier League prize money to play for now. Leicester no longer have the Champions League to worry about so can focus all of their energies on staying up, something that’s still not secure as yet.

    With two games in hand on most of the teams around them however, Craig Shakespeares’ side should remain in the top flight with a little to spare.

    Robert MadleyRobert Madley

    Crystal Palace v Burnley
    29/04 - 17.30

    Assistants: A. Nunn and M. Perry
    Fourth official: A. Marriner

    What a turnaround for Sam Allardyce and Crystal Palace.

    Virtual certainties for relegation a few weeks ago because of their form, their rise up the table has been nothing short of meteoric.

    Robert Madley – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 26 (11 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 13
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Indeed, the Eagles are now soaring so how that they are amongst the teams with the best current form in the division.

    Another win in this one will put them above the magic 40-point mark and theoretically have them safe for another season. Big Sam’s reputation as a miracle worker for teams at the bottom end of the Premier League will also remain in tact.

    Not that Sean Dyche and his hard-working Burnley side will be offering tea and cakes when they arrive in south London.

    Their role reversal with Palace sees the Clarets more desperate than their hosts for the three points.

    Expect a real blood and thunder 90 minutes and a game that Robert Madley has to be on top of from the first minute.

    Both managers should be happy with the choice of official as they have, in the past, both praised his quality on the pitch, Dyche even going as far to say that he respected Madley’s decision to award two late penalties against his side in an earlier contest.
    Will they be as amicable in the heat of this particular?

    Neil SwarbrickNeil Swarbrick

    Manchester United v Swansea City
    30/04 - 12.00

    Assistants: G. Beswick and M. Wilkes
    Fourth official: M. Jones

    YATR’s Keith Hackett agreed with Jose Mourinho recently when the Portuguese suggested he was being treated unfairly by officials.

    Neil Swarbrick – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 20 (3 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 20
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 4

    The Special One’s ire stemmed from a stadium ban he received for verbally abusing officials, however this season he saw Arsene Wenger shove fourth official Anthony Taylor in a game but only receive a touchline ban. Further, Jurgen Klopp received no punishment for screaming in the face of Neil Swarbrick, the referee for this match.

    Back in February, Swarbrick failed to give Swansea a nailed-on penalty in their game against Chelsea and though it wouldn’t have changed the game, it was part of an under-par performance from the official.

    So, he goes into this one under immediate pressure with both teams are desperate for the points for differing reasons.

    Bound to be one of the games of the weekend and Swarbrick has to play his part.

    Jonathan Moss

    Everton v Chelsea
    30/04 - 14.05

    Assistants: E. Smart and A. Halliday
    Fourth official: M. Atkinson

    With Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck’s, this isn’t a fixture I’d necessarily have handed to Jon Moss. PGMOL’s most vilified exponent has wilted under pressure before – think of Leicester’s game against West Ham last season as just one example.

    Jonathan Moss – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 25 (10 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 14
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2

    Every single decision in this game has to be spot on because if the Blues come away with anything less than a win, questions are going to be asked.

    That’s not taking anything away from Everton who are playing some of their best football of the season too.

    Romelu Lukaku has a chance to bag his 25th of the season against his former employers and a team that he’s been linked with joining for next season.

    The Toffees need to keep winning to ensure Europa League football in 2017/18 and so we can be assured that both teams will be playing at a high tempo throughout.

    One wouldn’t describe Jon Moss’ application as ‘high tempo.’

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    Kevin Friend

    Kevin Friend

    Middlesbrough v Manchester City
    30/04 - 14.05

    Assistants: H. Lennard and A. Garratt
    Fourth official: L. Mason

    This was a game that Boro won 8-1 back in 2008 and if Pep Guardiola’s superstars turn up at the Riverside, you wouldn’t bet against that scoreline being reversed.

    Kevin Friend – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 19 (2 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 20
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 3

    They’ve already won 2-0 here just over a month ago in the FA Cup, and another positive result for the Citizens surely condemns the hosts to the Championship.

    Since Aitor Karanka jumped ship, Boro have been rudderless with no cohesion in midfield and attack particularly.

    Sunderland went 10 consecutive games without scoring but even they’ve got three more in the goals for column than the Teesiders.

    Kevin Friend was the fourth official when City won the cup game and now gets the main job.

    It was suggested at the time that the reason he was on fourth official duties was because of missing vital incidents in a game the week before that led to the Football Association to charge players of Manchester United and Burnley with violent conduct.

    That was a blot on an otherwise fairly exemplary copybook in 2016/17. Let’s hope there’s no repeat.

    Michael OliverMichael Oliver

    Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
    30/04 - 16.30

    Assistants: S. Bennett and J. Collin
    Fourth official: A. Marriner

    Game of the weekend by a distance and Michael Oliver is the right choice for the White Hart Lane cauldron.

    There was a time when Arsenal supporters would revel in ‘St Totteringham’s Day,’ the time of year when the Gunners results had ensured that they couldn’t be caught by their north London rivals.

    Michael Oliver – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 28 (17 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 8
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    This derby carries more significance than most because if Chelsea have failed to win at Everton, Tottenham can move to within touching distance of the blues.

    It promises to be one of the matches of the season and, potentially, one of the best north London derbies we’ve seen for years.

    Arsene Wenger isn’t Oliver’s biggest fan so the Frenchman’s excuses will be ready made if Arsenal happen to have another away-day nightmare here.

    With rumours gathering pace that Oliver will depart PGMOL towers at season’s end, this could be his last hurrah.

    In front of millions of TV viewers, this is his time to shine. And he will.

    craig-pawsonCraig Pawson

    Watford v Liverpool
    01/05 - 20.00

    Assistants: C. Hatzidakis and P. Kirkup
    Fourth official: R. East

    Jurgen Klopp’s side again suffered against a team in the lower half of the table, losing to Crystal Palace at the weekend. It’s been Liverpool’s Achilles heel all season and has stopped the Reds from really making a mark on the top of the table.

    Craig Pawson – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 22 (12 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 16
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2

    Though they’re still in the shake up, the four teams around them have all played two games less and that could be crucial at this stage of the campaign. Watford can be the most stubborn of opponents, especially at Vicarage Road, and they’ll revel in taking points off their more celebrated visitors.

    Craig Pawson had a nightmare at Wembley in the Arsenal v Man City semi final, denying Sergio Aguero a perfectly legitimate goal and failing to award them a penalty when the striker was tripped by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    He was also in the middle for a semi final last season, when Watford played Palace – and has only been in charge of the Hornets once since. In the eight times he’s overseen Watford, they’ve won just twice, the most recent in 2012/13, so perhaps Klopp will be the happier manager at full time.

      Alex Griffiths talks to Roger Dilkes (Football League/PL, 1983/1997) about the refereeing giant whose shoulders he was honoured to stand upon.

      The very first burning question for Roger had to be: when he surveilled the ranks of top officials and their chosen professions in the days long before professional referees, did he not feel daunted when he saw so many were coppers, if not teachers, as was the case with the man he set out to emulate? “Not in the slightest!” comes the reply.

      “I just didn't look at it like that, coming as I did from HR training. I felt I had lots of transferable interpersonal skills plus the ability to communicate, both through my work and having played myself.

      “There's no denying, however, that George's job as a head teacher stood him in good stead. He had the people skills, a good manner and people working for him, which helps you relate to what we used to call linesmen in those days...”

      What else made Courtney stand out among what was a talented bunch in Hackett, Thomas, Midgeley and Willis, to name but four?

      “He looked the part for a start, always in short sleeves. From experience he used his humour at just the right times and kept it on the field of play, and, even then, more so with the players as opposed to his assistants.

      “That group of rivals all got on very well, in fact, and the late Pat Partridge could be included even if he was slightly older. Of course he was from the same neck of the woods as Courtney and Willis, up there in the North-East, too.

      “As well as being mentored and supported by George I acted as his linesman and the instructions he would give beforehand were always very precise and only served to heighten his authority.”
      Courtney certainly prided himself on his fitness, did he not? “Yes,” Dilkes readily confirms. “He used to play tennis and golf to a high standard and I remember one particular occasion in Istanbul when he gave the hotel pro a game of tennis prior to a Galatasaray versus Austria Vienna match.”

      Who won? “Oh, I'm sure George let the pro win, simply because he did not feel he should exert himself so close to such a big appointment... he was that professional! He had a good go, all the same, as I recall.”
      Hang on, must this tribute to Courtney face a steward's enquiry, given that most people and their idol have an age gap comfortably bigger than Roger's and George's... is Dilkes just trying to come off as younger than he really is here?

      “Not guilty! He was on the list nearly ten years before I was, and I can't overstate what a positive influence he had on me.

      “In terms of motivation to succeed that really was what he was all about, and again those were key skills he brought with him from teaching.

      “Consistency was his trademark, if you like: you knew what you were getting, whatever the standard of the game might be. And he kept going long after retirement.”
      Consistency does appear to have been Courtney's legacy, so, in closing, how did he manage to loom so large in the Dilkes story, in practical terms?

      “It was not just me, but many others who he supported along the way. He simply seemed to know how to get the best out of you, and after a pep talk from him you felt able to take on any game.

      “His mentoring allowed me to go into games with no qualms or any hint of negativity whatsoever, and for that boost in confidence I will always remain grateful.”

      Roger Dilkes

      *Born 19/8/1948 in Lancashire

      *Made FL list as linesman in 1980, as referee in 1983 (aged 34) and PL as referee in its inaugural season, 1992

      *Ran the line for FA Cup Semi-Final 1984, Watford (1) Plymouth (0)

      *Refereed 1988 FA Trophy Final & replay: Enfield (0) (3) Telford (0) (2)

      *Refereed 1989 Women’s FA Cup Final, Leasowe Pacific (3) Friends of Fulham (2)

      *Refereed 1991 Upton Park Cup Final in St Helier, Jersey: Sporting Academics (3) Northerners (1)

      *Reserve referee (to Philip Don) at 1993 FA Cup Final

      *Refereed FA Cup Semi-Final 1994, Chelsea (2) Luton Town (0)

      *Refereed League Cup Semi-Final 1996, second leg: Leeds United (3) Birmingham City (0)

      *Retired 1997 after Coventry City (1) Derby County (2)

      *Assessor and referee coach until 2012

      George Courtney MBE

      *Born Spennymoor, County Durham, 4/6/1941

      *Made FL list in 1974, aged 33

      *FIFA ref 1977-91

      *Refereed Northern League Cup Final at age of 30

      *Refereed FA Cup Final 1980: Arsenal (0) West Ham United (1), including the momentous decision to caution Arsenal's Willie Young for an example of the erroneously named 'professional foul'

      *Refereed UEFA Cup Final 1982, second leg, in Hamburg, West Germany: SV Hamburg (0) IFK Gothenburg (3). IFKG, managed by Sven-Goran Eriksson, won 4-0 on aggregate

      *Refereed League Cup Final 1983: Manchester United (1) Liverpool (2) aet

      *Refereed Euro 84 Semi-Final in Lyon, France: Spain (6) Denmark (5) on penalties

      *Refereed European Cup Winners Cup Final, 1989, in Bern, Switzerland: Barcelona (2) Sampdoria (0)

      *Refereed two games at World Cup 1986 in Mexico, inc 3rd place match, France (4) Belgium (2) aet

      *Refereed two games at World Cup 1990 in Italy, inc Italy (2) Uruguay (0) in last 16

      *Refereed League Cup Final 1992 (only referee to be honoured twice with this appointment): Manchester United (1) Nottingham Forest (0)

      *Retired in 1992 after Division 2 play-off final, Blackburn (1) Leicester (0), having awarded the penalty scored by Mike Newell to gain promotion to the inaugural Premier League for 6th-placed Rovers

      *Served as Director of Community Projects at Middlesbrough FC

      *Served as Northern League President

        Author: Sal Saba

        Fifa president Gianni Infantino has suggested that video referees will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

        "We will use video refereeing because we've had nothing but positive feedback so far," Infantino said.

        Introduced for the first time in a FIFA competition at the Club World Cup in Japan in December, the technology was then used in the Australia's A-League, becoming the first top-tier competition to use it. It was also used to correct two decisions as Spain beat France in a friendly last month, having previously been used in France's 3-1 friendly win in Italy last September.

        Keith Hackett said: "With the positive noises coming from those countries that have been involved in the experiment with regard to the Video Assistant Referee it is no surprise that FIFA intend to use it at the World Cup in Russia.

        "Howard Webb was in Dallas recently working with the MLS referees at the Toyota  cup prior to its introduction in the second half of the MLS season. La Liga have announced their plans to introduce the system next season. The Championship appear to be moving ahead of the Premier League and it will be interesting to see the results from the league in Australia.

        "Recent high profile errors have exposed referees and could have been avoided. All referees I am sure at the elite level will welcome its introduction."

        It could also be used in English football in August, The FA had initially said the technology could be trialled in the FA Cup in January 2018, but it might now begin in the EFL Cup first round.

        The video assistant referee (VAR) technology can only review incidents relating to goals, red cards, mistaken identities and penalties.


          Anthony Taylor has been appointed to referee this season's FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea on May 27th 2017. He will be joined by assistant referees Gary Beswick (Durham FA) and Marc Perry (Birmingham FA) with Bobby Madley (West Riding FA) the fourth official.

          Having previously been fourth official at the 2013 FA Cup Final, the 38-year-old said to thefa.com: "The first feeling when I got was the call…I was delighted, excited and very, very honoured and humbled to be appointed to the game."

          "It’s been a long-standing dream of mine in the 20-odd years that I’ve been a referee to one day officiate The FA Cup Final, it’s the pinnacle of your domestic career.

          "Refereeing a match at Wembley is a fantastic experience, any game that you do there, but the Cup Final is iconic and especially with it being a London derby as well, that adds an extra dimension to the occasion."

          Taylor has been officiating in the Premier League since 2010 and has been on the FIFA list since 2013. He has also taken charge of The FA Community Shield, League Cup Final, FA Trophy and FA Vase Finals.

          Taylor, back in January, was pushed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who also labelled the Altrincham born referee "dishonest". Wenger was given a four-match touchline ban and £25,000 fine following his conduct.

            Remember the reaction when Luis Suarez punched that ball off the line in the 2010 World Cup quarter final against Ghana?

            The English press was outraged, especially when Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty and Uruguay went on to win a shoot out and move on to the semi finals.  Such a blatant case of cheating had prospered.

            What no one appeared to remember was that in the 1966 World Cup semi final, Jack Charlton had performed the same act in an even more blatant manner, flinging himself like a goalkeeper to punch away a header that was about to cross the line.  True, Charlton’s action had no effect on the outcome of the game.  Portugal converted the penalty which, anyway, came too late for them to save themselves, since they were already two goals down.  But no one called Charlton a cheat.  Coverage of the incident centred on the observation that he had no other option, that he had to do it, and so on.  He was not even sent off.  Suarez had to sit out the next game – the semi final against Holland – because he was automatically suspended.  Jack Charlton, meanwhile, was out there for the biggest day of his professional life – the 1966 final against West Germany.

            The fact that the English press condemned Suarez while forgetting Jack Charlton might in part be put down to historical ignorance or hypocrisy.  But there is something else.  Because the game is also governed by codes – some explicit and written, others merely understood.  And these can change over time.  Just as directives can alter the laws or change the focus of their interpretation, so the unwritten codes are also open to development.  From my own recollection, even in the late 1980s it was deemed quite acceptable for a player to punch the ball off the line.  The penalty would be given, he would receive a yellow card but there would be no hail of opprobrium falling on his head.

            On the evidence of the recent Champions League quarter finals, another code of the game is going through a modification.  In recent years it has been granted that if a player goes down injured the other team will automatically put the ball out of play, allowing him to receive treatment.  Failure to do so came to be seen as a gross infringement of the codes of the game, likely to spark violent flare ups.

            But, in a sport where rhythm is so important, it became clear that this code was being abused, that, when the scoreline was favourable to their side, players were going down unnecessarily in order to interrupt the flow of the game.  A new consensus appears to be forming amongst players that this code was being abused, and that the automatic necessity to halt the game no longer applied.

            None of this is written down, of course – which makes life difficult for the referee.  He has to take this unwritten codes into consideration when deciding which behaviour is acceptable and which is worthy of punishment.  The traditional ‘man in black’ (though this, too, has been subject to change over the years) is forced to take control of a grey area.

              On the show this week Alan Biggs was joined by former FIFA referee Mark Halsey and ex Premier League and Sheffield Wednesday striker David Hirst to discuss and dissect all the action from the weekend in the Premier League and the Football League. There's also plenty to discuss in the weekend's two big FA Cup semi-finals with Martin Atkinson in particular receiving plenty of praise over the weekend whilst his fellow referee Craig Pawson, who took charge of Sunday's Arsenal v Man City fixture, also under scrutiny by the panel.

                Michael Oliver

                One man who has been there and done it is KEITH HACKETT.

                I can remember in April 1981 receiving THAT phone call from the Referees' Officer at The Football Association. It was to inform me of my appointment to officiate the 100th FA Cup final. I was stunned by the news, knowing that there were at least ten other referees who could have been given the honour. In the coming days another referee will receive that same incredible call.

                The number to select from is frankly much smaller and perhaps the competition narrowed by the fact that the selection is made from within the limits of the group of professional referees. This group is further reduced by the more recent tradition of a referee only being appointed to one FA Cup final in their career

                Effectively, this then rules out Jon Moss (2015), Andre Marriner (2013), Mike Dean (2007), Martin Atkinson(2011) and the retiring Mark Clattenburg (2016).

                So who are the front runners?

                Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor must be the two leading contenders given the fact that both of them are keen to be promoted to the UEFA Elite Panel which opens the door for them to officiate Champions League games.

                Alternatively, sometimes the Referees Committee offer the final to someone who has given long service to the game. This might just open the door to a surprise appointment and  Lee Mason, Mike Jones, Kevin Friend and Neil Swarbrick might feel that they are in with a chance. Remember how, in 2015, Moss was given the nod over the in form and world ranked Clattenburg.

                I have at the moment ruled out Craig Pawson because of his semi-final appointment and Bobby Madley, who in some respects should be another contender given the advances that he has made in his career in the season to date. The FA, however, often seem to indicate that his time will come.

                So for me the right choice would be Oliver or Taylor who will be given the honour of joining an elite list of referees appointed to this great game.

                Let me know who you would select.

                  MARTIN ATKINSON produced a master class refereeing performance today  in what was always going to be a challenging game to officiate. This was the refereeing performance of the season.

                  His game reading was first class, ensuring that he was well positioned when making his decisions. He used tempo management, judging when to intervene and in a period in the second half when it was beginning to bubble he put his foot on the ball, punishing those small fouls to slow things down and demonstrate to everyone that he was in control.

                  The award of a penalty kick to Chelsea saw Martin Atkinson hesitate despite a strong and accurate flag from his assistant Hussin. The decision was spot on and I just wondered if The Football Association were operating below the radar with a Video Assistant referee.

                  Atkinson and the game reaped the rewards of the way Atkinson had sensibly kept his cards in his pocket, his body language and facial expressions were calm and respectful of the pressure the players were under.

                  Take a bow Martin Atkinson and your team for the superb way you and your colleagues have controlled this game and produced the best refereeing performance of the season!

                    Kim Milton Nielsen

                    While they may look like a cure for insomnia when they first land in your inbox, the latest chunky updates from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) update have plenty going for them.

                    To give the documents their full name, they go under the title Laws of the Game 2017/18: law changes, Practical Guideline changes, Guidelines for Temporary dismissals (sin bins) and Guidelines for Return substitutions.

                    The bigger picture is they represent the second part of an attempt by IFAB to update the language of the Laws. Here at the Danish federation I am lucky, because I am far from alone in tackling the many pages, and our dedicated committee involves those responsible for interpreting the interpretations, which is thankfully not part of my job description! One way or another we will be fully prepared for July 1st, when these changes are due to come into effect.

                    The main thing is that it is good for all people, refs included, to understand the language used within the Laws, and we are talking about terms which have not changed in some cases for over 100 years.

                    There are times when it is important to stress the intention more than the exact word of the Laws; people deserve clear explanations, to see how we use those Laws, and I welcome any move to standardise our interpretation in a universal way. In Denmark we play our part in feeding back to the Technical Advisory Panel, almost half of which is British, by the way.

                    Another interesting aspect of the most recent documents is the potential for wider use of the sin bin. In Denmark we have had this for over 20 years at the lower levels and it does not cause as many problems as you might expect.

                    Players who rise to a level where they no longer temporarily leave the pitch after a yellow card do not seem to have trouble adjusting, maybe because of how much top football they watch on television.

                    As for referees getting used to the difference, I have never known those who get promoted to suffer any confusion and in any case they always have plenty of friendly advice available in the shape of other officials, players and supporters!

                    I feel it works well enough to consider using in senior major competitions in future, although I would expect a lot of trials at intermediary level first, for instance the UEFA Youth League or any number of tournaments that take place between seasons.

                    The only serious complaint I know of is that those players who have to come back on need to warm up again, which can be a real problem in the winter months. But even here, at the elite levels, you would not expect players to be stood there, shivering, with so much modern kit available.

                    The upside of sin bins may seem obvious but it really does help improve fairness in the game. The player in question is punished immediately, so that the advantage is felt by the current opponent and not by the opponents for the match or matches which follow. This direct advantage is an improvement, without question, so we must simply ensure that everyone knows exactly where they stand, if and when the decision is taken to adopt this system.

                    Until next time, don't forget to download those documents from IFAB and take them to bed with you!

                    Vi ses (see you later), Kim.

                      The hunt continues for those guilty of racially abusing Heung-min Son at the Spurs-Millwall FA Cup quarter-final and the sooner this is punished and an example set the better, if you ask me.

                      There is no place inside or outside football grounds for this kind of behaviour and it is a challenge we must all meet.

                      In the most similar incident to this that ever cropped up in my career, I had to be honest when asked by Mike Riley and the police whether I had heard chants directed at a visiting forward, and say no, I hadn't.

                      Whether or not I was too focused on other duties and the hurly-burly of a competitive fixture or not, much like with our reliance on competent stewards, it would have taken the strength of my statement to take the matter further.

                      One difference, of course is that while many a steward may well be tempted to turn a deaf ear and cite volunteer status or minimum wage as a reason to “not get involved” should a chant be barely audible, the officials owe it to the players to come down hard any time such ugly language is aired.

                      Ideally that will be the case for any witness, professional or not, in future, and we can really get to grips with the problem.

                      Had I actually heard the alleged comments myself as the referee on the day, it would next have gone to the match commander and the stadium safety officer, with attempts to root out the culprits along with an announcement that the chanting in question should cease.

                      The referee is well within his rights to take the players from the field of play if the chants continue or until perpetrators are identified, and, if those efforts fail, to abandon the game.

                      In the wake of such a controversial cup encounter at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United, I'm also reminded that the ref himself has to be careful what he says and there was no better example than the mistaken assumptions made during

                      the League Cup clash back in 2012 taken by my former colleague, Mark Clattenburg.

                      He took some diabolical abuse from one player in particular after that player's team-mate had misinterpreted a completely innocent remark by Clatts.

                      He was rightly exonerated and the main offender required to publicly state that he would welcome being refereed by Clatts again, which all could have been avoided so easily.

                      Now it saddens me to have to widen the issue out and have to demand better protection all round, because secretaries at local associations are still not backing up local referees sufficiently in my opinion.

                      In no way am I diluting the strength of my opposition to what Son had to endure, in fact I am pointing out how lack of action only encourages the least responsible among spectators to treat people with deplorable lack of respect, and linking the urgent need for action and vigilance in any area that continually leaves players, referees or any other participant vulnerable.

                      Look at the way many parents of players get away with intimidating teenage referees who are asked to take charge of players just two or three years younger than themselves in some cases.

                      There is a step process laid down by UEFA that should be followed to the letter and the abuse has to stop. It's as simple as that.

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