A remedy for Football's unruly state Friday, March 28, 2008
There has been considerable press about the behaviour of footballers on the pitch in recent weeks and specifically their intimidatory attitude towards referees. As a keen football fan [yes, West Brom are a genuine football team thank you very much!], I'm very aware that some teams appear to have practised mob behaviour towards the ref for some time, but that the number of teams falling into this category has been growing.
A programme I watched last night featured Graham Poll, the former premiership referee who took early retirement but who is infamous for failing to realise he'd already shown a yellow card to a player in a World Cup semi-final and failed to send him off. The show, "This Week", is actually a political panel discussion, and was considering whether Society was becoming more "angry". Poll was asked to comment on whether Society had led to football's current state or whether football had played a part in influencing Society. He rightly responded, in my view, that it is a two way process.
Whilst it's not easy to fix Society's ills, it is much easier to address football's. My proposed remedies are not unique, namely
- borrowing from rugby, only allow the Captains to speak to the referee. Only a player summoned over by a referee may otherwise be present for a discussion. Non-compliance should result in both an immediate yellow card for any player breaching this rule and a 10 yard move forward of a free kick that has been awarded to the opposition for dissent.
- permit retrospective yellow/red card penalties to be applied to players following post-match reviews of a game i.e. if the referee missed an incident that warranted punishment
- a separate tally of yellow cards for dissent should be operated and clubs penalised with points deductions once a threshold has been reached. Demonstrating the importance of team discipline, it would create pressure from other players, managers, owners and fans for players to respect decisions awarded
This would hopefully eradicate the disgraceful scenes that are all too common and set a better example to .