Tags Posts tagged with "respect"


    Author: Dean Mohareb

    Football - England U21 v FYR Macedonia U21 - 2011 UEFA European Under 21 Championship Qualifying Group Nine - Ricoh Arena, Coventry - 9/10/09 General view / Referee / Respect Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Alex Morton

    You Are The Ref have stated before that, although we back the campaign against the abuse of match officials at all levels, we do not believe that a strike is the correct way of dealing with this problem. We would like to see the  Football Association resurrect the Respect programme, and support it by issuing far more robust sanctioning procedures to those who are guilty of such abuse. There have been instances this month in professional football, where match officials have been physically handled, and the forthcoming punishments have not been severe enough.

    When The FA Respect Programme was launched in 2008, The FA chief executive at the time Brian Barwick, who is now an FA council member said: “The Respect Programme is a top priority for The FA and the game as a whole”.  Well if ever it is a priority, it is now!

    During my time as FA National Referee Manager, I was fortunate enough to work with Dermot Collins, the FA Respect Manager.  He was a fantastic man and someone who believed passionately in Respect and what it stood for.  Dermot often banged his head against a brick wall and had little support from disciplinary committees and from the leadership who watered down the Respect Programme and reduced the budget year after year.  The token captain’s armbands in FA Cup games and the odd advertising board at the various Cup Finals are not enough, more has to be done!

    In the professional game, match officials often assume that they are safe and well protected.  The various stewards, safety officers and police at the ground provide security and certainly up until this season, a physical act towards an official at the professional level was rare and if it occurred it was dealt with swiftly and firmly.  Paulo Di Canio was hit with an eight game ban for pushing referee Paul Alcock in 1998 and David Prutton got ten games for manhandling Alan Wiley in 2005.  However, in the past month there have been four instances of physical alterations with match officials and the punishments handed out so far have been weak and insufficient.  Arsene Wenger was handed a four game touchline ban for pushing Anthony Taylor and Hope Akpan got the same suspension for pushing referee Scott Duncan.  Last weekend Newport County player Mitch Rose struck the red card out of referee Trevor Kettle’s hand and this weekend Leandro Bacuna playing for Aston Villa initiated head to head contact with assistant referee Mark Russell. Both players have this week received the standard three match bans. What is clear already from the precedents set this season is that more has to be done to deter such behaviour.

    I am proposing a 5 point plan in order to improve behaviour across the game;

    1. Any player or club official who puts their hands, feet or head on a match official should receive a minimum suspension of 10 matches
    2. The club should be deducted a minimum of 3 points when a match official is assaulted or excluded from the cup (depending on the competition the incident occurs in)
    3. The individual concerned should have to complete The FA Referees’ course and officiate a minimum of 5 games in the local Sunday League during their suspension period
    4. The PFA and/or LMA should publicly condemn the actions of the individual
    5. The Referees’ Association and Prospect Union should come out and publicly support the match officials

    The Football Association has badly let down match officials across the game with the weak suspensions given out in these high profile incidents so far.

    Prospect Union has said representations are being made and The PFA, LMA and Referees’ Association have said nothing so far.  All of these organisations should start to support referees in the media and publicly, otherwise there will be even less officials coming through to the professional game when they see the examples set at the top levels.


      There has been a lot of speculation about a national strike by grassroots referees in protest at widespread and unacceptable instances of match officials being abused.

      You Are The Ref is against this proposal, which has emanated from calls by a young referee in one particular part of the country.

      This is not because we don't believe there is a problem in this area or because we lack sympathy for officials on the ground. Far from it. The team here ran a recent campaign, highlighting abuse cases and calling for action on this cultural malaise in football.

      We have expressed our concerns about the lack of respect shown towards our grassroots referees. I have also emphasised the need for referees to report incidents in an accurate manner.

      Further, I hope the Football Association resurrect the Respect campaign and support it with a raft of sanctions that act as a true deterrent. For instance, my view is that where an assault on a referee takes place this should be dealt with by the police with the FA duly copied in with the facts. However, we also believe the solution lies in communication and education.

      I am aware that the FA are currently in the process of recruiting a Respect Officer, soon to be appointed.

      Our focus is on supporting young referees to enjoy the game - as is their right - and to progress within it. A withdrawal would be counter-productive in my view.

      Today I received the results of a survey carried out by the Sheffield Referees Association and frankly I was delighted to see that they are very much against the organisation of a referees strike. We at You Are The Ref have been clear that we do not support strike action.

      The preferred route is to ensure that when young referees take to the field they have been suitably trained in conflict management and how to cope and deal with abuse from parents on the touchline.

      Mentoring and coaching are the key factors in ensuring that referees remain in the game and that they do not become one of those 7,000 who hang up their boots up at the end of each season.

      The basic referees course would appear not to adequately prepare referees - as there is less than a 1% failure rate nationally. Every year around 7,000 referees are trained and a similar number lost.

      Unless mentors are appointed to support the first few games of a new referee there is a higher chance of drop-out. The course requires this in two of the first six games but in reality we hear that this is not happening.

      So more power to the FA in dealing with this issue proactively. A strike is not in the interests of football and something we do not wish to see.

        Alex Griffiths speaking to Howard Wilkinson

        Football - Football Association - Greg Dyke Press Conference - FA Chairmans England Commission - Wembley Stadium - 8/5/14 Commission member Howard Wilkinson Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Jed Leicester EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

        Howard Wilkinson has such a serious CV it has been known to blind some who encounter him to his less serious side.

        That's not to say, however, that the formidable glare he perfected down the years for the most gormless of journalists is in anything but full working order. Even on the phone.

        Alex Griffiths engaged Sgt Wilko, as he was known to his Leeds admirers, in a conversation spanning a call for increased educational resources, Respect, the Youdan Trophy and nodding off during a match, among other things.

        The former England caretaker, under-21, England C, Wednesday, Leeds, Notts County and Sunderland boss remains as keen as he ever was that the barriers between referees and clubs are addressed and overcome.

        Your career not only straddled the birth of the Premier League, the very season after your Leeds side were crowned First Division champions in fact, but also the switch from amateur to professional top-flight referees. Did this have the desired effect?

        Overall it has had the desired effect, yes, when you weigh our judgement against the backdrop of such dramatic changes in the game. Players are that much fitter, stronger and more professional.

        They handle longer distances at optimum speed and cover so much more ground that what they do demands so much more of those in charge of them.

        Now that video technology has been introduced, do you want limits to its use or should experiments continue, the like of which were conducted in the Netherlands?

        We must keep pushing the boundaries and we must not be diverted by the argument that we are leaving football at lower levels behind. Anyone arguing that way must see that there have been huge differences for a long time and the referee in particular should not be averse to these changes.

        Anything that might improve the product should be looked at, as we are rather euphemistically told that we are in the entertainment industry, while the stakes have only got higher and higher.

        Given the potential resuscitation of the Respect campaign, the lot of the park referee shows no obvious prospect of improving, quite apart from any perceived lag when compared to the world of Hawkeye and what have you...

        Football - Leeds - Division One League Champions - 3/5/92 Mandatory Credit : Action Images Leeds parade the Championship trophy around the city of Leeds Leeds United

        As someone who does watch football at all levels, you do have to say that's life, I'm afraid, and believe me, I do see the dog's abuse meted out to young amateurs locally when what they are doing is entirely admirable.

        Still, it doesn't actually matter what they are signing up for and what they think when they start out, because as you move up through the system you simply have to keep up with whatever improvements come along. Things change and if you want the benefits of change you have no choice but to buy into it.

        I would compare the journey, at least in some instances, to that of a St John volunteer going on to become a fully-qualified doctor later in life.

        Nobody gets to the Elite Panel without working their way up a pretty lonely road and showing a rare passion and commitment to the game, which is to be applauded in my view.

        Let's bring in the League Managers Association (LMA), which has taken up so much of your time besides FA advisory work and boardroom chores since you left full-time management in 2004. What do you, as a body, do to address the sense of 'them and us' between managers and referees?

        We don't think about it in those terms, we are only in favour of breaking down barriers and the only way to keep trying to do that is to make sure both sides understand the problems that the other side has got.

        From the LMA point of view, it's all a question of moving forward and we welcome anything aimed at doing just that.

        Personally I would also advocate more money being spent on referee development and education, there's plenty of room for that given the resources currently available in our game.

        Our inclination is always toward the 'we' rather than 'them and us', with the 'we' including everybody within football. We have seen improvements where scapegoating of referees is concerned and these improvements will continue.

        Surely it's easier said than done sometimes, when, as a manager, there is so much pressure in the immediate aftermath of a game and so many people only too happy to put words in your mouth?

        Yes, there are times when it is in the interests of certain groups to see unrest between managers and referees, but that does not mean we have to subscribe to that agenda.

        Have you tried refereeing yourself?

        Yes, I always, always refereed in training matches. Not only that, but I frequently refereed very badly, and frequently on purpose! If one of the things you want to develop is a resistance to losing control, then you must practice it.

        Youdan TrophyDid any of your players ever actually make you feel sorry for the referee?

        There is no need to name anyone, but there are always going to be those who are slower than others to learn life's lessons! I would demand of my players that they focus on their own job and no one else's in order to increase the likelihood of our succeeding. That's the ideal scenario.

        Naturally some would stray, while some would even break out and go on the rampage so to speak, but I'm glad to say that the latter were certainly in the minority.

        What do you make of the annual Youdan Trophy, which brings in young referees from abroad and exposes them to our game, and the support they receive from former top officials?

        I have attended this tournament and I think it's good. If our aim is to improve, then we should go ahead and do things like this, then review it and find the value in it. Anything which has at its heart the improvement of referees in particular and the welfare of our game in general has my support.

        As Wikipedia sceptics, we thought here's a good chance, should there be anything out there online or otherwise that's incorrect, for you to put the record straight?

        I'm pleased to report that I'm in reasonable control of my faculties and not in any particular need to check the facts of my own life, so I haven't looked! An approach from Arsenal which was turned down by the Leeds chairman, Leslie Silver, was a matter of public record, it came when I wasn't prepared to break my contract, and is there something about Manchester City on there, too?

        Yes, there is, and it implies Frank Clark pinched that job from under your nose!

        Well, while I wouldn't put it like that, it was a case of the authority of [former chairman] Francis Lee being superseded by the incoming David Bernstein, whose choice was Frank. I'll be Sir Alex Ferguson - 10x5sure to go back to Wikipedia just as soon as I need to find out anything I may have forgotten, though...

        Finally, your old sparring partner, Fergie, once confessed to falling asleep while overdoing the televised
        football. Without naming and shaming any clubs in particular, has this ever applied to you, too?

        I have indeed, and we should be very careful not to saturate the television market. I'm a believer in that old business principle that Burberry, for one, used to adhere to, which was that when you have a product that is popular, then that popularity is enhanced by a judicious look at what is available.

        I find it applies just as well in this case, and there is something to be said for maintaining a deliberate policy of limiting the availability of live football, because there is the very real danger of us over-egging it.

          Author: Patrick Barclay

          Mike Cairns
          Former Premier League official Mike Cairns in action

          During Jeremy Wilson's brilliant recent campaign in the Daily Telegraph about abuse of referees, there was a particularly poignant interview with Mike Cairns.

          Cairns was a Premier League match official for 15 years who, out of love for the game and a sense of duty towards younger referees, returned to the game at grass-roots level, only to find what Wilson called 'a very different landscape to the one he left in 1995.'

          Many people reading this, including younger referees, will deem it all too familiar. "The level of indiscipline I see on a weekly basis is extreme," Cairns told Wilson. "It is beyond belief. I just don’t recall this level of abuse before.

          "If you dismiss a player, you get this torrent as you leave the pitch, calling you everything from a pig to a dog. That didn’t happen. Many of the referees are turning a blind eye to foul, abusive and insulting language simply because they feel it is not worth the hassle."

          In the circumstances, Cairns can be permitted the mixed metaphor because even the words to which they are cocking a deaf ear are more acceptable than the violence, real or threatened, that some have experienced.

          Reports of the supply of referees decreasing are hardly a surprise. It all provides a dismal commentary on the performance of the FA’s Respect campaign, which has been going for nearly eight years and appears to have made a bad situation worse.

          The recent increase in abuse of rugby referees, which the Telegraph also reported, is hardly an excuse or a distraction. It appears to point towards a general deterioration in behaviour in society at large and this was held to be a problem in 2008, just as it is now.

          The question remains: what can any sport, in our case football, do about it?

          When the Respect campaign was launched, it contained a fatal flaw which has never been properly addressed. It attempted to improve behaviour from the bottom up, as if grass-roots players provided an example to elite professionals rather than the other way round.

          It was an astonishing error – everyone who has played or watched, let alone refereed, grass-roots football knows that the habits of the Premier League are aped on every humble pitch across the land – and yet it still appears to govern the campaign.

          The professional game has even developed a different kind of refereeing in which officials are trained to explain decisions to dissident players as the match goes on. How do the FA expect grass-roots referees to learn those dubious skills as well as attending to their real-life jobs or studies?

          No wonder they cannot control the tempers of the errant – why should they have to?

          The best way to reinvent the Respect notion would be to impose strict rules on the elite. And enforce them. No backchat, no questioning except politely and briefly from the captain – and strict enforcement, backed by increased punishment by the FA.

          If that means the elite referees can no longer practice their communications skills, too bad. The way things are going, their long-term successors may choose a different way of spending weekends. Only through zero tolerance of abuse at all levels can we do the game justice and – just as important - help to combat the shortcomings of an unruly age.

            Author: Patrick Barclay


            The FA’s 'Respect' campaign, when it began in 2008, was, of course, well intentioned. But I said at the time that its design was fatally flawed and subsequent events have done little to dispel that impression.

            The flaw was that it concentrated on the grass roots while ignoring the argument that behaviour there is conditioned by what people see happening on television and in the stadiums of the Premier and other Leagues. When a child – or any other impressionable person – sees a famous player or manager being aggressive or rude towards a match official, he – or, I suppose, she – is more liable to lose control. It is human nature.

            Yet the FA, in the wisdom of whichever consultants were employed, decided to impose discipline from the bottom up instead of the top down, when what was needed was force in both directions at the same time. Roped-off areas were all very well but of limited relevance when the example being fed into the minds of participants and their parents – head-to-head contact, the haranguing of referees who meekly accept foul language and even the odd jostle - was so often sending a less helpful message.

            Bad parents are, of course, the main problem. My friends at the Middlesex Referees Association have written to add to the mounting anecdotal evidence of a level of violence - threatened or actual, from pitch or sidelines - that suggests the supply of young match officials may eventually run out. Apart from anything else, referees and their assistants are entitled to enjoy their football as much as anyone, without the fear of a repetition of what happened in Holland four years ago.

            Then, a 41-year-old assistant referee was punched and kicked to death by several teenagers and a father. The man was later sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter. The teenagers were ordered to spend much shorter spells in detention. My printable opinion of those punishments is that the agony of the victim’s friends and family can only have been prolonged. It must never happen here and the open letter to that effect which has been sent to departing FA head Greg Dyke by our very own Keith Hackett deserves universal support.

            PS: I always enjoy the work of Tim Vickery, whose piece about 'technology' appeared here on February 25, and this was no exception. But his concerns about video assistance for match officials being available only to those operating in the richer leagues are, in my view, misplaced. The only 'technology' required anywhere is a television set - and those are affordable in all leagues which are televised. No one else needs any equipment at all. Nothing complicated is called for anywhere, even in the super-rich Champions League or World Cup. So can we please get on with it?

              Alan Biggs is joined on The Ref Show this week by former FIFA officials Mark Halsey and Glenn Turner.

              There were plenty of flashpoints over the Premier League weekend; leading the trio to discuss handball, dangerous challenges and a consistent approoach to grappling.

              In part two, the panel continue their review of the Premier League weekend, before turning their focus to the abuse of referees at grassroots level and whether the eight-year long Respect campaign has made a difference.

                Author: Alan Biggs

                You Are The Ref reproduces below an email to Mark Halsey from the father of a young referee. It details the ordeal the teenage official allegedly suffered during a recent Under-15s game.

                UPDATE: Derbyshire FA act swiftly following report of abuse 

                Ask yourself the question - is this acceptable? Even more worryingly, is it standard behaviour at some levels of the game?

                But equally, what can young referees learn from suffering abuse early in their careers? And what should the FA be doing to help?

                The message comes from Steve Nicholson, a qualified coach who has managed teams at junior level. Steve himself suffered an uncomfortable experience when he turned up to watch his 17-year-old son, Jake, referee the game in question.

                The incidents Steve details will be discussed by the YATR Ref Show panel on next Monday’s show... and it’s clear from Keith Hackett’s reply that there are also learning points for this young official to consider.

                Remember, this is a junior game...

                Hi Mark,

                I will describe a catalogue of shouting at Jake throughout the match. There was nothing serious, what I am wanting to achieve is to use this match as an example of how some coaches seem to think it's acceptable to keep shouting at a young ref throughout a match.

                You need to know that although I was a neutral observer, I am on the committee at Babworth Rovers - the home side. Jake is allocated matches with Babworth at random, mixed with plenty of other matches. This was the first time Jake officiated an U15s match.

                The culprits were the opposition's coach and linesman. It began when the linesman raised his flag for offside, Jake acknowledged but let play continue as the player was not interfering in his opinion. This was the catalyst for the shouting throughout.

                1) Sarcastic cheers when the flag was next raised and offside given
                2) "Oh, you are giving fouls then", when Jake blew for a free kick to Babworth.
                3) "Are you allowing rugby tackles?" after a shoulder barge by a Babworth player on an opposition player
                4) "We've got a right one here" - very loudly so everyone can hear
                5) After a foul on an opposition player, Jake let play go for four seconds to see if there was an advantage. There wasn't so Jake brought play back for a free-kick. "Ref, that was a terrible challenge, you should have blown straight away."

                We are only about 10/15 minutes into the match! At this point I told the coach and linesman that Jake played advantage, but brought the play back for the free-kick. I said that they should read the Laws of the Game before shouting, only to be sworn at. The coach did apologise for that, but I didn't want to hear any more so walked away at that point.

                A more experienced ref would have warned the opposition's coach after five minutes, and then sent him off if it continued. Jake should've done that in my opinion. The shouting clearly affected Jake in the first half.

                At half time I spoke to Jake, I explained he needed to be firmer with the coach and players.

                In the second half I was on the opposite side to the opposition's coach and linesman. There was an incident that caused a bit of a brawl between the players. Jake controlled the players, but had to speak to the coach. Jake tells me this was because the coach was wanting a Babworth player booked. I was pleased Jake stood up to them, in the second half.

                The opposition goalkeeper clearly said something to Jake after a Babworth goal. Jake spoke to him. The reason I mention this is because at the end of the match the goalkeeper came over to apologise to Jake. This was very big of him. The coaches however did no such thing, going as far as to not shake his hand and not say a word to him.

                The Babworth coaches, who do know Jake, were encouraging him, saying he had a good match, knowing it had been difficult for him.

                As you can see, there is no 'one incident' to report, it's a collection of disrespect throughout the entire match. My point is to question Derbyshire FA as to their Respect campaign. The opposition coaches are clearly unaware of it, or have forgotten it, or choose to ignore it. Whichever it is, it needs putting right by Derbyshire FA.

                There will be loads of matches like this every week all over the country. However, grown men in their 40 and 50s shouldn't be shouting at 15/16/17-year-olds who referee their matches.

                I must add that Jake is absolutely fine, it's good experience for him, next time he will handle it better I'm sure. That is no excuse, though, for the club to act as they did and I would like to make an example of this as to how coaches shouldn't behave toward young refs!

                I'm looking forward to hearing from Derbyshire FA.

                Thanks again!

                Steve Nicholson

                Former FIFA referee Keith Hackett commented: “First of all, it disappoints me greatly that young referees have to put up with abuse in this age group or any other. Referees in the region should consider withdrawing their services from this particular club.

                “What’s also clear from this is that it would seem the FA can’t be educating young referees on how to cope with conflict and manage it.

                “Some advice for Jake in that respect. He should have warned the coach about his behaviour in the first instance. From this ongoing account, the coach should have been sent off.

                “Also, in discussions before the game, Jake should have warned his assistant that he might apply advantage.

                “Finally, I would have encouraged the referee to report the coach to the authorities. Without such a report, the county FA have difficulty taking the matter further.”

                  MLS Cup
                  The abuse Major League Soccer officials deal with on a regular basis has reached 'inappropriate' levels, according to the MLS commissioner Don Garber, who says it’s time to take action.

                  Mr Garber has witnessed the growth of MLS and he takes a great deal of credit for what he has achieved in such a short time.

                  Under his leadership, MLS is now a competition watched by millions with spectator attendance at games growing rapidly.

                  I can recall having a phone call with him some years ago to promote the idea of bringing together a group of professional referees onto his competition. I said that it would also perhaps reduce him having to deal with refereeing controversies each week.

                  He approved and found the funding to introduce the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), and it is great to see him come out in the media in such a strong way supporting referees.

                  It is so vital for any competition to ensure that the image projected to thousands of children who play soccer in America is one of respect for the game.

                  Mr Garber, may I suggest - if I may be so bold again - to take a look at the successful promotion that was the brainchild of the Premier League's Richard Scudamore.

                  'Get on with the game, get on with the referee, get on with each other' - a simple formula that has now run for several years and which continues to be successful.

                  The idea of chairmen, owners, club captains and referees signing up to a charter was a brilliant one.

                  So Mr Garber, take a look and see if there is room for this scheme to be adopted by MLS. I wish you continued success and thank you for your efforts to support your referees.

                    Author: Keith Hackett

                    RWC referee
                    Rugby players 'show referees a high level of respect'

                    Over recent days, whether buying fuel at my local garage or shopping at Meadowhall, people have kept wanting to talk to me about referees.

                    No, not those on the English Premier League but those officiating at the Rugby World Cup 2015.

                    There is no doubt that the public has witnessed some excellent officiating from the group of World Cup referees.

                    You cannot fail to be impressed with the quality of their communication, keeping both sets of players informed as well as the television audience through the privilege of hearing what is being said.

                    Rugby is a very physical contact sport and you can see on regular occasions hugely-built players moving at speed suddenly coming to an abrupt halt following a bone-crunching tackle.

                    It amazes me how players recover so quickly and get on with the game. On the odd occasion when foul play takes place, the offending player is called over and he responds immediately, keeping quiet and showing a huge amount of respect while being spoken to by the referee.

                    The one major feature that we have all witnessed at this World Cup is the outstanding behaviour of the players; their discipline and self-control are to be admired.

                    They show referees a high level of respect and it is evident to me that this is the cultural thread that runs throughout the game of rugby.

                    The people who run this sport should be congratulated for the way that they have accepted and use technology to assist the referee’s decision-making process.

                    The administrators of football should take note and, rather than manage our great game in a Victorian fashion, they should capture the spirit of it and assist our referees by introducing a change of culture.

                    - Start by punishing managers/coaches who publicly berate match officials
                    - More club officials who offend in the technical area should be sent to the stands - however, the game should get rid of the technical area! It is a joke and a source of dissent to referees and opponents.
                    - Introduce the Video Referee into our game.
                    - Referees should get tougher and apply the law correctly
                    - Issue the appropriate sanctions for foul play
                    - Be prepared to issue a yellow and a red card for dissent by players

                    Referees, you are the key holders of our great sport and you need to change the culture of players at all levels.

                    The Football Association needs to be more supportive of our match officials at all levels of the game. If players cannot control their behaviour then punish them accordingly.

                    We have all become accustomed to the culture of dissent and cheating in our game.

                    Parents, when your child goes out to play a game, encourage them to play in a fair manner and to accept the role of the referee.

                    Referees, learn to enjoy your role and communicate with all stakeholders in the game with a smile on your face.

                    For thousands of officials it is a hobby that we should enjoy - and not accept the culture of being berated by club officials and players.

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