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THE ISSUE OF REFS
Graeme Sharp, 9th October 2007 - 12:58
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What a fantastic weekend of action and wasn't it lovely to hear the referees finally getting the recognition they deserve!
I know some of you must think I'm mad but I was referring to the displays in the Rugby World Cup quarter finals.Wasn't it lovely to hear the referee talking to the players in a civil manner and the players respecting his decision. Why can't that happen in football? is the question that has been doing the rounds for years.
The rugby players have a respect for the referee and are willing to accept his decision but I'm afraid that 's not the case here in English football where there is definitely a case of "them and us".
Premier League referees have a very difficult job, but have they improved since they turned professional? For me the answer is definitely NO.Listen I'm not saying they are all bad but I believe there are a few who like to see their names in the headlines. When I look at the "so called" top four Premiership referees I can see an arrogance amongst them which does not endear them to the players. The first time I knew we had a problem was when I witnessed a top referee signing autographs in the pre-match warm up!
The old adage that a referee had a good game if you didn't notice him is something we can't say too frequently nowadays. Football has changed dramatically over the years but how I wish we could see referees like Joe Worral, Neil Midgeley, Roger Milford. They were good referees but they also had a rapport with the players and were greatly respected throughout football. Can you say the same today?
I would love to see football referees earning the same respect as their counterparts in rugby but it's going to take a lot of change, from the players but more importantly from the men in the middle.
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