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Robson is wrong

To say I’m disappointed is putting it mildly. To say I’m furious is probably more accurate. This is the second time that Bryan Robson has been inaccurate in his references about me with regard to this particular game.

In a recent television and media interview, the former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson said that I asked for his autograph after I red carded him at Ellis Park in 1993. Let me state here and now for the record and for all time –


At no time did I seek, nor did I ask anyone on my behalf to seek, the autograph of Mr Robson. The television and newspaper interviews are misleading, false and TOTALLY without foundation.

My biggest disappointment is that the interviewers in either case didn’t have the courtesy to contact me so as to give balance to the story. Are they applying the old adage never let the facts get in the way of a good story?

I have long campaigned for referees to keep their distance from players and club officials other than to carry out their official functions.

I have been against the now customary hand shake before games. I believe it causes more problems than it solves.

Why then would I go against all that I believe in? It doesn’t make sense.

We need to get on with our job of refereeing a game of football between 22 players. We are not there to be liked by anyone, including players, club officials, fans or commentators

If we can just do the basics we will win back the respect we deserve. If we don’t, we are there to be aimed at and, Lord knows, there are plenty of people with us in their sights waiting at any given opportunity to bring us down by whatever means.

Refs to be mic-ed up?

Following on from the allegation that referee Mark Clattenberg used foul and abusive language towards a Chelsea player last weekend comes the clamour for referees to have microphones, which will allow the public to hear exactly what they are saying.

Currently they have a system, which really is only a walkie-talkie set, where there is communication between the match officials only.

This system was tried before in the EPL and was scrapped. It is widely used in American football and in rugby on this side of the world.

I’m not sure this will solve the problem for the following reasons:

  1. Players are constantly questioning the referee’s decision and not in a pleasant and mannerly way.
  2. Games are watched by all ages from very young children to people in the twilight of their life.
  3. Managers and coaches are now bearing down on the fourth official as well and voicing their displeasure in a very forthright and un-gentlemanly way.

How can this sort of confrontation be allowed to be played live on television?

What kind of message would that send out to the watching public?

Do we want that sort of vulgarity splashed out over the airwaves? I DON’T THINK SO.

It’s bad enough being a reasonable lip reader to see what is being said.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to see the expressions on the faces of the “offended” players or managers to realise that the referee won’t be on their Christmas card list.

The answer is for the referees to carry out their duties in a calm, professional manner, according to the laws of the game and to punish all indiscretions from whatever quarter without fear or favour.

He’s not there to be liked by players or to be their friends. He’s not there to show how clever or witty he is. He’s there to do a job just like players and managers are.

If a referee feels he can’t do that, then he should get out of this game and find some other form of employment or recreation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so please keep them coming.

Happy Whistling
Dr. Errol Sweeney

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