Clearly, the professional game has a big role to play in demonstrating Respect towards match officials and in general.
As part of the Respect programme, there are a number of changes to the matchday procedure which will apply to the professional game this season:
- The manager or a senior member of coaching staff and captain will meet the referee with their team sheet at least one hour before kick-off
- Players will enter field of play together and shake hands prior to kick-off
- The referee will work with both team captains to help manage behaviour during the game
- There will be changes to the way the technical area will be managed by the fourth official
TEAM SHEET EXCHANGE
Referees will use this time to get a clear message across. They will:
- View the team colours for potential clashes
- Check the team sheets
- Give a clear message on managing the game and how he intends to work with the team captains to do this
- Convey any other important information
REFEREES AND CAPTAINS
- The Referee will work with the team captain in order to manage the players and the game effectively. Note the Additional Instructions for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials which state that the captain has no special status or privileges under the Laws of the Game but he has a degree of responsibility for the behaviour of his team.
- The Referee must control the game by applying the Laws of the Game, and deal firmly with any open show of dissent by players.
- Change practice - Referees do not move away from the incident, but stay and deal with it appropriately and effectively.
- The Referee should use a stepped approach, where appropriate, to managing players:
- Free-kick and a quiet word
- Free-kick with public admonishment (this is the time referees should consider using the captain to more visibly get the message across)
- Yellow card
- The stepped approach does not negate the fact that the referee has the authority within the Laws of the Game to issue disciplinary sanctions without recourse to the captain.
- Whilst recognising that players may on occasions make an appeal for a decision (e.g. a throw in, corner or goal kick), It is important that the referee distinguishes these from an act of dissent which should be punished with a caution.
- Even if the captain is some way away from an incident when the referee feels he needs him involved in a discussion with a player, the referee .will call the captain over rather than using any other senior player. This will ensure that the captain remains the point of contact for the referee.
These guidelines should be seen as an additional preventative/supportive tool in order for referees to manage the game effectively. The key to the above is using the captains in a more visible way, where appropriate.
Managers need to be in control of their behaviour and that of their coaching staff.
- If a manager/coach/team official berates either the referee or assistant referee or fourth official in a very public way in contravention of the Laws of the Game, he should be removed to the stand, and reported to The Football Association.
- If a manager/coach/team official breaches Competition Rules only by not adhering to the 4th Official’s instructions to return to the bench after giving instructions and having a suitable length of time to see if they have been carried out, they may be removed to the stand and reported to the appropriate competition.
A number of leading figures in the English game have given their support to the Respect programme. Click here to read their thoughts on Respect.