The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

ONE of the most im­por­tant changes I would like to see is a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in the at­ti­tude of ref­er­ee­ing for the good of the game.

So of­ten, from the mo­ment that I walk into the refs’ room to hand in my team sheet, I get a sense that the ref is as­sum­ing an un­nec­es­sary im­por­tance and putting a neg­a­tive psy­chol­ogy into the equa­tion.

Don’t get me wrong; refs count. Their judge­ments make a big dif­fer­ence to re­sults. We all know that.

But I think they should al­ways re­mem­ber that the pub­lic are there to watch great football, ex­cite­ment, goals and in­ci­dent.

Pun­ish­ing ev­ery mi­nor in­dis­cre­tion kills that. Feel­ing a need to meet the as­ses­sor’s cri­te­ria af­fects that.

Frus­trat­ing the play­ers kills that.

In the pre-match brief to man­agers and cap­tains, we nor­mally get told that the ref will call in the cap­tains when play­ers are in trou­ble.

We never get told to just have fun, play well and en­ter­tain. I am long­ing for the day when a ref sim­ply says ‘Fel­las, go out there and give the pub­lic their best game of the sea­son. I will keep out of the way, let the game flow and only step in if I am re­ally needed’. Imag­ine...!

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