'Respect' plan aims to end baiting of referees

The incidents that featured Ashley Cole and Javier Mascherano baiting referees last season were described yesterday as "the tipping point" for the Football Assocation's new "Respect" programme that will be rolled out from this weekend.

In what is a concerted bid to clamp down and ultimately remove from the game aggressive behaviour towards referees and their assistants, the occasions featuring Cole and Mascherano were referred to specifically by the Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Chelsea and England full-back Cole turned his back and walked away from Mike Riley during his team's 4-4 draw with Tottenham last March when the referee had asked to speak to him. Four days later, with the Cole incident still resonating loudly, Liverpool's Mascherano was sent off against Manchester United. The Argentine midfielder had complained about a decision to Steve Bennett and continued to harangue the official, who followed up an initial yellow card with a red card.

Lord Triesman, a former referee at semi-professional level and the chairman of the FA said yesterday: "We've reached a tipping point in football [over respect to referees]. There were incidents last year that received lots of attention. There was a breakdown in referees running games last season."

Scudamore said: "The Cole and and Mascherano incidents brought this to our attention in particular. But maybe they have done the game a favour.

"Football engages, motivates and inspires – but at times we know it can get ugly. We all have a responsibility to deal with these excesses and I sense there is a commitment from all quarters of the game – including media – to deal with it."

"Respect" has the backing of the Premier League and all clubs in the country have been introduced to it. It was launched in part due to a haemorrhaging of referees, particularly at grass-roots level. The FA are attempting to recruit officials at a time when it is losing 7,000 referees a year. The aim is now to recruit 8,000 more by the time of the Olympics in London in 2012.

The FA have identified other problems, such as parents being aggressive towards their children when they are playing football. Referees also receive abuse from parents and coaches at this level.

Triesman acknowledged he needed the input of the people at the top of the game to help turn this situation around, and "Respect" will feature initiatives involving players and managers.

"We need the leadership of top players. Their role is absolutely decisive," Triesman said. "They can do fundamental things."

But the FA and Premier League hope that a much-enhanced dialogue and communication between referees, players and, in particular, team captains will improve matters before games begin. The referee will discuss issues before the game with the captain and either the manager or assistant manager, who are now required to hand in the team sheet together.

While no new rules have been implemented on the field of play, referees have been told to face up to possible problems on the pitch and deal with them there and then. Referees have not been told to always show a yellow card for all dissent-related matters, but they should still produce one for direct dissent. They are also under orders to handle the situation with the player concerned and with the captain present. Managers will also have to be more restrained in their technical areas and in their dealings with the fourth official.

Brian Barwick, the FA's chief executive, said he does not expect a perfect world straightaway. The start of the season this weekend will no doubt prove him right but the players cannot say they have not been warned.



The new video from the FA







PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Manchester United team walk out ahead of the pre-season friendly between Manchester United and Inter Milan at FedExField
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz