Respect the ref campaign down plughole

by Michael Somerville

Friday, June 19th, 2009

In what was supposed to be the season of goodwill, it transpired that there was really no hope of the “Respect The Ref” campaign working.

The Premier League was targeted firstly by the campaign, as its high profile and influential nature was hopefully going to place a “verbal cull” on some of its more outspoken players, and indeed managers. The campaign has been heralded by some- with the country’s highest ranked referee, Howard Webb, calling the programme “a success” which has “improved players attitudes”. Dwindling refereeing figures from last year show that around 7,000 refs have quit their jobs, and it’s clear from these startling stats that something needs to be done about the lack of respect in football.

Incidentally, it’s difficult to create a good atmosphere about the new campaign, when Premier League managers are openly disregarding the FA’s, and referees’ efforts. Ex Blackburn manager, Paul Ince called prozone stats claiming that referees are fitter and so can get to the action quicker as “a load of crap”.

However, after one of the clearest pieces of evidence that the “Respect the Ref” programme has been a failure this year, was the events of May 6th in which Chelsea football club behaved quite disgracefully, most notably Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa. The pair accused, abused and threatened the Norwegian referee after the Champions League semi final defeat to Barcelona. Thankfully, they were hit by one of the most severe punishments handed down by UEFA in recent times, with Drogba being banned for at least four European matches and Bosingwa at least three matches. Chelsea were also fined £85,000 for failing to control their players and their “over- zealous” crowd who threw missiles onto the pitch.

It seems that Drogba’s grovelling apology has done him no favours with UEFA.

I myself am no big fan of UEFA. I think that some if their rules are ridiculous (employing an extra linesman for the Europa league games?!) but perhaps this sanction will make players think twice before aggressively contesting a decision and verbally attacking a referee.

It’s just a little strange how the season that was supposed to bring more respect to the game, ended doing the exact opposite.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Stevie

    a total disgrace, how Chelsea have to nerve to appeal is beyond a joke too!

  • Martin Tibbetts

    What I want to know is why Ballack hasn’t received a lengthy ban too. He actually manhandled the ref failing to be aware of the rule that the ball striking a player on the back is clearly a penalty if the team claiming so have already appealed a few times before. I would have said his crime was just as bad as the other two, who I thought got off lightly…refs do a brilliant job in very difficult circumstances, not just do they have 22 overpiad children and numerous people in the stands on their backs, they also have to put up with idiot former players in TV studios who have no idea what the actual rules of the game are. For a respect campaign to work the bloody pundits need to get in line first….

  • James

    Didn’t Essien escape a lengthly ban for that horrific challenge last season? how much are they paying UEFA & the Premier League?

  • Tef1on

    Well I was always under the impression that if an appeal fails then the punishment is doubled (either in cash or ban)

    Now the FA and UEFA need men to run the ship… Currently they have people who are afraid of pissing people off. Well sorry but to run anything efficiently you have to piss the big boys off now and again! Also and MMW on this… Any other club than Chavski or United and the ban would be double and no appeal available, the FA would have thrown the book at them. Why do these clubs get away with murder? When was the last time a Big club got a big fine for something? Last thing I remember was Rio Ferdinand for taking drugs (sorry missing a drugs test by climbing out of the bathroom window and running away)

    On a different debate… Why did West Ham get fined over Tevez when United have EXACTLY the same type of agreement?

  • dexylongshot


Previous post:

Next post: