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Former Premier League referee says refs are ‘weak’ towards English players

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has exclusively told us that some referees have been both ‘lenient’ and ‘weak’ when it comes to dealing with dissent from English players.

Hackett spoke exclusively to The Football Faithful podcast last week about the raft of new rule changes that will come into force in the Premier League when the 2019/20 campaign kicks off this weekend. Check out www.maxfreebets.co.uk for the latest odds ahead of the new season.

During our chat, we asked if English players such as Wayne Rooney and John Terry received favourable treatment from officials regarding the issue of dissent, and Mr Hackett admitted that some referees have been ‘lenient,’ adding that some are ‘weak’ and  ‘need to toughen up a bit’.

“I think that when they changed the law and said ‘Foul and abusive language,’ it almost opened the gates for players to use the F-word, which sadly, is used in everyday language, and so the lawmakers decided ‘This is industrial language and you are in an industrial situation’,” Hackett told us.

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“Sometimes I used to run alongside players who were having a go at me, and you could see them visibly coming out with a bit of bad language, and I used to say ‘My son is watching this game, and yours in the future might do the same. Don’t ruin your image’.

“Wayne Rooney is a very, very skilful player, and really a nice guy off the park with spectators. Sometimes it’s frustration, but sometimes I think referees in this area have been massively too lenient.”

“You are right though, I think some of our referees are weak and don’t deal with it.

“In Rugby, I see a completely different approach by the referees, and they retain their authority, while we allow ours to be eroded. We need to toughen up a bit.”

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From the 2019/20 campaign, semi-professional games in England will introduce a sin bin system in an attempt to curb dissent, and Hackett said such a system could eventually be brought into the professional game if it proves successful.

“In England, we’re trialling in semi-professional football next year, we’ll operate with a sin bin, and that is being brought in to try to curb dissent, and win back the authority of the referee.

“What it does mean that a player next year in junior and grassroots football can actually get three yellow cards before he is dismissed. He can have a sin bin, a reckless challenge for which he gets a yellow, and then another sin bin, and at that point, he’s off.

“But this sin bin idea has been proven to be quite adequate, and quite effective at grassroots level, and let’s see how it operates, but it may come into the senior game.”

Click here to listen to the full interview with Keith Hackett