skip to content

Patrick Collins: Parliament must step in to ensure a crackdown on abuse directed at referees

More

02 Apr 2011 21:38:45

Patrick Collins: Parliament must step in to ensure a crackdown on abuse directed at referees

Clarke Carlisle is the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association. He is bright, articulate and personable. He is also hopelessly unaware of the contempt in which so many of his colleagues are held. He believes, for instance, that when it comes to behaviour, players need 'guidelines in place that state exactly what is acceptable and what is unacceptable'. He says that 'the behaviour of players has changed significantly (for the better) over the past five years.' Respected: Clarke Carlisle took over as chairman of the PFA last November And he insists that 'when an incident does occur, the media blow it out of all proportion'. In other words, players cannot tell right from wrong, but things aren't too bad anyway. And don't believe what you read in the papers.   More from Patrick Collins... Patrick Collins: Rooney's foulmouthed tirade makes an instant mockery of new Respect campaign02/04/11 Patrick Collins: Fabio Capello enjoys a tranquil stroll in the Cardiff sun26/03/11 Patrick Collins: Sorry is so hard to say when you are Sir Alex Ferguson26/03/11 Patrick Collins: World Cup? You haven't got a hope, England19/03/11 Patrick Collins: Feeble Fabio takes the easy way out on Terry19/03/11 Patrick Collins: Only a Champions League place can save the FA Cup12/03/11 Patrick Collins: Now football must part company with El-Hadji Diouf... for good05/03/11 Patrick Collins: What makes Giggs want to keep running?19/02/11 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE Sir Alex Ferguson is similarly bright and articulate. He is also totally shameless. He crassly implied that the referee, Martin Atkinson, is a cheat. For that disgraceful slur he is currently serving a five-match touchline ban, a savage punishment which affords him a far better view of the game than he would have had from the dugout. Has he apologised to Atkinson? Not at all. Is he chastened by the ban? Scarcely. 'I don't think managers disrespect referees,' he said. 'I get done for what I considered was fair comment, the FA didn't, and they give me a five-match ban, that's fine. But that doesn't mean to say we don't respect referees.' It is the kind of gibberish which could only come from a man unused to contradiction. Incidentally, I treasure the remark of Graham Bean, once an FA employee, who represented Ferguson at the disciplinary hearing. Mr Bean believes that in reaching their verdict, the FA acted 'like a communist state'. How true. It is all too easy to confuse those chaps from the shires and the universities with the agents of Honecker's East Germany or Ceausescu's Romania. But we need not take poor Bean seriously, whereas Richard Scudamore is rather different. As chief executive of the Premier League, Scudamore is at least as capable as those other gentlemen I mentioned. Sitting pretty: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) is serving a touchline ban But he is also concerned. You see, he knows that the public are deeply disenchanted with the antics of the people involved in his league. They believe that many of them are cheats, liars and bullies; and that's just the managers. The players are even worse. When you type the hoary cliche 'pampered overpaid prima donnas' into a search engine, 24 of the first 30 responses refer to professional footballers. It is a glib little test, yet curiously revealing. Now, normally Scudamore could enlist a compliant media mouthpiece to put a Premier League spin on the situation, but there is a problem. On Tuesday he appears before the Parliamentary Select Committee hearing on football governance. He will wish to portray himself and his organisation as responsive, decisive, anxious only to do theright thing. And so, with appropriate gravitas, he announces a 'crackdown' on 'unacceptable' behaviour by managers and players towards referees. They are all agreed, it seems. 'The clubs unanimously backed the idea that at the start of next season we want to raise the bar,' said Scudamore; a commendably high-sounding, if meaningless, declaration. Changing role: Graham Bean was formerly the FA's Compliance Officer He spoke of punishing 'vitriolic abuse towards match officials'. He insisted that 'questioning the referee's integrity or his honesty is also unacceptable', which must have sounded dreadfully dictatorial to our Mr Bean. And he promised to consult with the FA, PFA, PGMO, all manner of impressive acronyms. It was unexceptionable stuff, thefootball equivalent of motherhood and apple pie. Who could disagreewith even one of those objectives? True,there will be some who will doubt the reforming zeal of the 20chairmen, who have observed these abuses week in, week out these manyyears without ever showing the slightest appetite for correctiveaction. But never mind;honest Dick Scudamore is on a mission. He'gets it', you see. And his clubs will march boldly where the FA fearto tread. A point which he trusts the Select Committee will note. Itis a brave little public relations ploy, yet I fear it is too late. Farfrom being the answer to football's ills, the Premier League representsits most serious problem. Forfar too long, the national game has resisted regulation. Thatresistance has created the current anarchy, with the public repelled bythose who play it and contemptuous of those who so feebly attempt togovern it. Thepoliticians have read the public mood and decided that Parliament musttake a hand. On this occasion, I believe they are right. Holloway is in good company with his wacky icon, Jacko When Mohamed Fayed bought Fulham in 1997, people were concerned for the club. He seemed an impulsive character whose background was as mysterious as his motives. But they needn't have worried.For Fayed has proved a rather good owner, far better than some of those who doubted him. At Fulham's home match against Blackpool, the old boy will unveil a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage.Yes, that Michael Jackson; bit of a singer, decent dancer, mad as chips. He visited the club only once, a dozen years ago. Now, you and I could think of a number of Fulham figures who are infinitely more deserving of recognition. Our trawl might include Jimmy Hill, Alec Stock, Sir Bobby Robson, Roy Hodgson and the great Tosh Chamberlain. Give us a song! Holloway was a big fan of Michael Jackson But no matter, it's Fayed's train set and if he wants to decorate the Cottage with statues of Michael Jackson, Katie Price or the Duke of Edinburgh, then that's his prerogative. Football people must shake their heads and bite their tongues. What they shouldn't do is express approval of the bizarre installation. Which brings us to Ian Holloway. His Blackpool are the most appealing story of the season. If they survive in the Premier League, then he will probably be named manager of the year. Blackpool are at Fulham and Holloway can't wait. You see, he is eager to see the statue. He explains: 'Love or loathe him, Jacko is one of those iconic figures. 'He was a very special bloke and one of a handful of people I am proud to have been on the planet at the same time as. 'The Beatles, Elvis, Muhammad Ali ... they are the great figures of our age. David Beckham will be one day, too. They are icons.' Holloway is good value when he talks about football. And I want to believe that he's indulging in a private joke when he spouts that 'iconic' tosh. But, sadly, I fear he actually means it. I suspect he really might be as mad as he sounds. Ah well, he should find himself in excellent company at Craven Cottage. Johnson won't budge on the poet of the back line When Danny Cipriani entered international rugby, he was seen as the answer to England's prayers. With his pace and imagination, he looked like the man who could bring some poetry to the leaden prose of England's back division. Several things then happened. A severe ankle injury was clearly not of his own doing but there were scrapes, incidents, too many of them involving nightclubs. Chance gone? Danny Cipriani looks set to have played his last game for England He was then invited to join the Melbourne Rebels. The England team manager, Martin Johnson, could not have been clearer. 'It's his choice,' he said. 'If he wants to do that, it's up to him. It's impossible for him to play for England if he's over there. I'm sure he understands that.' A year on, and Cipriani has realised that the World Cup is around the corner. 'I'd love to be a part of the World Cup squad,' he says. The chances of Johnson changing his mind are less than zero. I'm not sure that Cipriani understands that. But he will. P.S... Seb Coe and Colin Moynihan are engaged in the most bitter feud British sport has seen for some time. On the surface, civility reigns, but there is no disguising the depth of the rancour. Ostensibly, the cause is the division of next year's Olympic surplus. In fact, the strangely ambitious Lord Moynihan, chairman of theBritish Olympic Association, covets the power and influence which Lord Coe, chairman of London 2012, exerts. There can be only one winner. Probably not Moynihan.  Let the respect campaign begin: Remember we will be naming and shamingDes Kelly: You don't ask for respect... you demand itMARTIN KEOWN: I was never booked for dissent but it's gone too far nowWe must stamp it out! Players' chief backs crackdown on bad behaviour  Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Ian Holloway, David Beckham, Jimmy Hill, Muhammad Ali, Colin Moynihan, Martin Johnson, Katie Price, Bobby Robson, Graham Bean, Roy Hodgson, Michael Jackson, Danny Cipriani, Martin Atkinson Places: Edinburgh, Romania, United Kingdom


Daily_Mail

Sponsored links

Facebook comments