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How do we improve respect for referees?

This beautiful game has many issues. Most of which will not improve until respect for the men in black improves. Sometimes these men wear yellow or green but the respect for the referee needs to change.
The fans like to remind us of their favourite hobby and they all alert us to the rumour that he grew up without a father.

The players are no better. Instead of respecting his decision and taking his first answer they feel the need to surround him waving their arms and screaming at him. Have you ever seen the referee change his mind after these over paid and over rated footballers stand toe to toe with him?

So why does the referee not get the respect he deserves. Why does the referee / umpire get more respect in other sports?

Having searched for the answer, the case has been put to me that sports like Rugby, Cricket and Hockey tend to be played by the middle classes who show more intelligence and respect than the working classes. Maybe?

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But Boxing is a working class sport. You don’t see the boxer and corner men crowding the referee every 2 minutes.

The referee in Rugby and Boxing is dwarfed by the sportsmen and is never intimidated in the same way football referees and linesman are.

Is the lack of respect partly due to the referee’s lack of stature in the game?

Bill Shankly famously said ‘they {referees} understand the rules but not the game’…..never has a truer statement been said. The game has evolved, got quicker, got more skilful but the rules are only tweaked each season.

Players have become more powerful in the game at the same rate as the officials stature has demised.

In the 70s, retiring footballers became pub landlords or bought racehorses. More recently they have become pundits on the TV or guest writers in the newspapers. You can probably argue that most top players don’t need to work once they retire.

Others players spend the last few years of their playing career doing their coaching badges to give them the option to go into coaching and management. Despite knowing the game, and the rules better than any other, not one of them become a referee; Why?

I played football for 20 years. Towards the end I did a bit of coaching.
I would not be a referee for all of the tea in China!! The thought never crossed my mind.

Neil Warnock is the only manager that springs to mind to be a qualified referee. Much is made of the point. But he never swaps his tracksuits for the black uniform. Even when he is out of work.
You could argue that when you see him as a manager on the touchline, he also loses respect for the referees!

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Would the players have more respect for an ex player? Will we ever find out? How will we entice ex players in to the job?

So what is the solution?

I feel we need to change the referees image. I feel it needs to start at the grass roots level of the game. I feel there needs to be a penalty that self polices the behaviour of the offenders.

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Marco Van Basten has talked about the possibility of introducing an orange card.

I would suggest that the offending players involved in the argument that ensues following the award of a free kick gives the referee the power to move the ball forward 10 yards. Better still, you could make each of the arguing players stand 10 yards behind the ball for 30 seconds after the free kick has been taken.

Maybe the introduction of video technology will increase the belief in referees decision making, as well as increasing the accuracy of the decisions being made. Some of the decisions that we see on a weekly basis are nothing short of atrocious, and referees are allowed to get away with it week on week.

I am not sure of the solution, but I am very sure there is a big problem that needs rectifying. NOW.

Do you have any solutions that can improve the standard of refereeing? Do you have any ways to improve he respect towards referees? Leave a comment in the box below

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