Football: Officials to thrash out refereeing disputes

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The Independent Online
MANAGERS AND referees are set to come face to face once more - but this time peace talks will be on the agenda.

The head of the Premier League referees' association, Philip Don, will meet with John Barnwell, his counterpart at the League Managers' Association, for talks aimed at ending the war of words which is threatening to ruin the relationship between officials and club managers.

The Blackburn manager, Roy Hodgson, has twice publicly criticised match officials in recent weeks: a tirade aimed at the Loughborough official Peter Jones after last week's Premiership game with Chelsea, which was followed on Tuesday by a verbal assault on the Dutch referee, Rene Temmink, after Blackburn's Uefa Cup defeat in Lyons.

Hodgson must now wait for Uefa to receive reports from their officials at the game before learning whether he will face a disrepute charge similar to that awaiting the Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, who launched a scathing attack on the Italian Stefano Braschi over his handling of the Champions' League draw with Barcelona a fortnight ago.

Hodgson will learn if he will be charged when Uefa's disciplinary committee meet on 8 October, but his behaviour continues a disturbing trend.

Uriah Rennie was slated by the Southampton manager, Dave Jones, after Monday night's game against West Ham at Upton Park, and on Tuesday the Manchester City manager, Joe Royle, claimed "the home fans were refereeing at times" after his side's match at Millwall.

There have been several other recent complaints which have done nothing to help relations between managers and match officials.

The pre-arranged meeting between Don and Barnwell in London tomorrow offers a chance to thrash out some of the problems that have led to a deterioration in that relationship.

"We need to talk to each other to see if there is anything we can do," Don said yesterday. "Everybody in the game has a responsibility - the referees, the players and the managers and the current situation is not doing anything for the game.

"I met with John earlier in the year and we said we would keep in contact. This meeting has not been precipitated by recent events, but we do need to see if we can find a way forward."

Spanish First and Second Division referees and referees' assistants yesterday pledged to donate their collective wages from one weekend's work to help one of their colleagues.

Carlos Sanz, a linesman in the Spanish First Division until last season, has contracted Hepatitis C and requires an urgent liver transplant. He will benefit to the tune of 9,110,400 pesetas (pounds 37,500) thanks to his friends' generosity.