The Respect Campaign

It was yet another weekend when more managers hammered their respective nails into the coffin of the so-called resepct campaign. Where is it all going to end, it’s long been a joke, it’s now becoming embarrassing for the sport of football in my opinion.

I’m not singling anyone out here, most top flight managers are guilty, although some more than others.

But over the last few days alone we have had Alex Ferguson criticising Martin Atkinson, then he imposed his own media blackout. Arsene Wenger disgusted with certain refereeing decisons, Wenger blaming match officials because his team got outplayed by Barcelona, Tony Pulis moaning about off side decisions (not the ones from the Sunderland game) and Spurs players surrounding a referee like a pack of hounds live on Sky.

Yes there has been some poor decisions by referees, but are our referees really that bad? I don’t think so.

I’ve sat and watched Paul Merson, Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas pulling refs apart in a slightly more constructive way on Soccer Saturday. Their views sum up the overall attitude towards referees for me. They seem to be of a view that a referee goes to a match to be the center of attention. Are they for real?

Another thing that I can’t get my head around is this ‘the referees have to earn the players respect’ view we keep getting from all these pundits. This view also tells me that the whole mentality of football people towards referees is totally wrong.

Since when has an official had to start at zero and earn respect? He should be respected once he steps out onto the pitch.

I have never understood that view, I’ve heard people such as Rodney Marsh and Paul Merson (him, again) come out with that joke line, it’s unbelievable.

The football authorities such as FIFA, UEFA and our very own FA are as usual not doing their bit to help referees. Yes they might throw the odd charge at a manager, give him a touch line ban, or give him a laughable fine. It’s no longer enough though.

They are continually hanging referees out to dry. Never mind technology, thats another argument. There is more immeadiate help the authorities can give too referees.

If a team surrounds a referee in an aggresive way in an attempt to harass and/or intimidate him, they should be brought to book. Not by the referee, but by the governing body.

The referee can’t send 6 players off can he? That would mean games getting abandoned and the public and TV viewers getting short changed. The referee would then get all the usual accusations like ‘he thinks he’s the center of attention,’ etc. So under this current system, the referee just has to take it.

Why don’t the football authorites start taking action over this? Does it come under the duristiction of this stupid retrospective punishment rule? I don’t know, but it isn’t a tackle or an off the ball incident so why should it?

It should be acted on, clubs should be made aware at the start of next season that if you do that, you get put on a warning. You do it again, you lose points. That would soon put a stop to it.

All these so-called experts we keep hearing claim that the refs should send off guilty players are talking crap, in individual cases, yes the refs can red card them. But the refs can’t red card half a team.

It is action that can be taken by FIFA, UEFA etc, but they choose not too.

Another thing that could be dealt with by the same authorities is managers undermining referees before a game, and slaughtering them after a game.

Should managers have the right to speak? I believe they do, but if they can’t be responsible then maybe it’s time to stop them speaking straight after a match. Or maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to comment publicly on officials at all.

All this rubbish that ‘if you don’t like what we tell you, then don’t ask the question’ is no excuse for a manager publicly questioning the integrity, ability or fitness of a referee. If they have any issues, then they should go directly to the FA in a discreet manner.

The footballing authorities have to get involved and help referees, it’s time to stop sitting on their hands. It has now become too much for referees to handle on their own.

Rules have to be put in place to stop this constant harrassing of referees taking place. Fines don’t work and respect campaigns clearly aren’t working.

So lets start dealing in a currency all managers understand. League Points Deductions.

It obviously isn’t the answer to all football’s problems, but it would be a start and it would help referees.

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