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Clattenburg case should be watershed moment

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With the FA concluding that Mark Clattenburg did not make racial or abusive comments towards Chelsea players, the spotlight must now focus back on the behaviour of players towards officials.

I understand that the game should not be about the referees but about the players, nevertheless, the officials deserve the respect of the players they are officiating and should not stand for any abuse, verbal or physical, during or after the game.

This is an issue that has been talked about many times before over the years, but surely the time for action instead of words is needed. As I write this, Mike Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), has announced that the recording of referee’s microphones will happen in the future.

It seems to be the case that the football authorities require a controversial case or event to occur in order to prompt them into making seemingly common sense changes or additions to the game.

By simply recording the conversations of the officials during the Chelsea game, Clattenburg’s name and reputation would not have been called into question.

Referees and officials need more support in my opinion. The biggest ‘grumble’ for me about football other than the constant diving is that of dissent and players abusing referees without any consequences or punishment.

Whether it be retrospective punishment in terms of bans for players or points deductions for constant abuse, the FA, UEFA or FIFA need to get tough on such behaviour.

Referees need to have the backing of the authorities to show a red card to a player, no matter who that player is, and if a referee has to send off several players within minutes of a game then so be it. It is a problem that has been in the game for years and action needs to be taken to stop it, and it needs to stop being excused by people saying that it is just a part of the game and that referees need to ‘man up’ and ignore it.

The lengths of such bans need to reflect the seriousness of which the authorities take such behaviour. One or two game bans are not enough. The same punishments need to be handed out to offending managers too.

By forcing the players to set an example on the pitch, it would be encouraging to think that fans would follow suit.

The hypocrisy of football is displayed none more so in this case with players constantly confronting referees and in many cases using foul language, and then playerscomplaining that the same referee that they have been ‘hounding’ all game has sworn at them.

A precedent needs to be set and a bit of ‘backbone’ needs to be shown to tackle this problem and promises need to be kept.

What is your reaction to the whole Clattenburg case, now the referee has been cleared?

image: © kyaboo

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