League looks to raise respect level for referees

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has revealed that a new directive has been issued to give referees more protection and respect this season.

At the official launch of the new season in London yesterday, Scudamore said the ‘Get on with the game’ campaign would look to reduce the number of incidents of dissent towards officials from players and managers.

He said: “We’ve gone to the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOB) and asked them what will help them. We came up with a reduction in disrespectful behaviour, turning backs on referees and we don’t want players surrounding referees, as well as the conduct of managers.

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“In post-match interviews we don’t want to stamp out constructive criticism, but it’s more about the colour and the disrespectful language.”

Scudamore was joined by West Brom manager Roy Hodgson, and he endorsed the move. “Referees are an integral part of our game and sometimes we are less kind to them than we should be,” he said.

“We all make mistakes – managers, players and referees.

“If we are caught out letting our emotions run away with us, we know the day after we are wrong and that we shouldn’t do it.

“These initiatives are really important and we really need to stress it.”

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Hodgson continued: “If you don’t behave properly, how can you expect the younger people around you to behave properly?

“Maybe [we should] try to encourage players to stop seeing referees as some sort of fearful policeman-type figure who’s got nothing to go with the game of football and embrace the fact he’s there to do his job as well.

“He’s got a performance to put on on a Saturday afternoon on which he’s going to be judged and through which he’ll either continue as a (top-flight) referee and go up the ladder or unfortunately, like the snake, slide down the ladder.”

Scudamore is convinced the new initiative will lead to a reduction in incidents of match officials being disrespected.

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“My confidence is born out of discussions we had over the summer,” he said.

“We heralded the idea we were going to look at something over the summer.

“It’s the first time we’ve met with all the players together. We met with [Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive] Gordon Taylor, representatives of players from all the clubs. That was very positive.”

He added: “Of course we’re all waiting on the first incident – there’s always going to be incidents.

“We’re looking to reduce the incidents, but we won’t eliminate them.”