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Refs should not be 'whipping boys'

The recent public and blatantly obvious attempt by an EPL club manager to intimidate and influence the match officials should be treated with the disgust and contempt it deserves.

I’m talking about Sir Alex Ferguson and his very childish rant at referee Mike Dean and his assistants in the recent Manchester United v Newcastle game. The guy just lost it after United were first “saved” by the assistant’s flag only to be overruled by the referee and the Jonny Evans own goal was allowed to stand.

By the way, in case some readers think I have something against the United manager, nothing could be further from the truth. However, I certainly do have something against his behaviour, not only on that day, but whenever he doesn’t get his own way.

He’s not alone. Some others are also at it, but he is by far the worst offender

The referee on the day also has a lot to answer for, not for what he did, but for what he DIDN’T do.

Yes there were plenty of incidents during the game, some of which were dubious to say the least, but that is no excuse for what subsequently transpired.

When are referees going to stand up to this kind of intimidation?

When are referees going to be strong and resist bullying by people who think they are above the law and bigger than the game?

When are referees and assistant referees going to say enough is enough and take the appropriate action to indicate to all and sundry that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated?

The managers can’t really be blamed because they are allowed to get away with it. A question was asked following the match – will Sir Alex be summoned by the FA for his ill-disciplined rant? The answer? No. Why? Because referee Mike Dean didn’t report the United manager to the FA.

Now do you see why managers/coaches will continue to do what they do every week?

Why should they behave any other way when no one has the balls to do anything about it?

My next questions are directed at the match officials and their appointments committee.

Why are you seemingly afraid to “take on” the big club managers?

Why are certain referees only given home games at certain big clubs?

Why is it that more penalties and red cards are given to so-called lesser clubs than their more illustrious high flyers?

The conspiracy theorists are having a field day and one could be forgiven for thinking that there is merit in it.

This nonsense has to stop – AND STOP NOW.

The ones with the power are the referees.

We are the guardians of the game.

We are the people who have a duty to see that the Fifa Laws of the Game are implemented fairly and evenly across the board regardless of the standing or stature of the club or its members.

This has to be followed up by support from within the corridors of power to ensure that a clear and unambiguous message is sent out that referees must to be respected for the difficult job they are doing.

Referees, in turn, have to be above reproach and do their job fairly, objectively and without fear or favour for any one club over another.

If they do, then they will get the respect they truly and rightly deserve.

If they don’t, they will continue to be the “whipping boys” of football and, quite honestly, I have no sympathy for them.

If match officials are prepared to take this rubbish from clubs and their managers, then they deserve everything they get.

Happy Whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter: @dr_errol

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