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PGMOL must get their own house in order, officials need to take back control from VAR and ONLY captains should speak to referees: MARK CLATTENBURG suggests five ways to improve relations between officials and clubs

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has seen the deterioration of the relationship between managers, players and officials this season.

Here, he outlines five points to help bring about an improvement…

 

1. GET IT RIGHT…

Which comes first? The improvement of the relationship or the improvement of the decisions? In reality, it has to be the latter.

Only when we see consistent decision-making will the trust between players, managers and officials return. I have been flabbergasted recently at the lack of consistency. 

It took VAR three minutes to award a penalty that wasn’t a penalty for Brentford against Newcastle at the weekend, while Brighton were denied a clear penalty at Spurs. I can see why clubs are frustrated. 

So, first job – the PGMOL need to get their own house in order. They should make more use of former referees, managers and players in trying to achieve this.

PGMOL boss Howard Webb must reassure clubs about how problems will be addressed PGMOL boss Howard Webb must reassure clubs about how problems will be addressed

PGMOL boss Howard Webb must reassure clubs about how problems will be addressed

Brentford were wrongly awarded a penalty to highlight the inconsistency in decision making Brentford were wrongly awarded a penalty to highlight the inconsistency in decision making

Brentford were wrongly awarded a penalty to highlight the inconsistency in decision making

 

2. COMMUNICATION… 

Howard Webb, the PGMOL boss, is smart enough to know that bringing everyone together in the same room can only help his cause. 

That should include representatives from the players, managers and clubs. 

He should reassure them by saying, ‘Look, we have these problems and this is how we are going to address them’. 

If you open dialogue with people and are honest, then everyone can work together to help referees and restore respect.

 

3. AUTHORITY… 

Referees need to get back to refereeing, to taking control and not gambling on VAR helping them out. When players see that authority, they respond. 

VAR should be there as a deterrent and a safety net. The bar for its use should be high, but that needs referees to own their decisions. 

They also need to improve their man-management of players. When I refereed, we spoke to players, we had a relationship with them. It helped. Now, they seem too robotic.

Referees must take more control of decisions rather than gamble on VAR to help them out Referees must take more control of decisions rather than gamble on VAR to help them out

Referees must take more control of decisions rather than gamble on VAR to help them out

 

4. CAPTAINS… 

While the above point about talking to players is a more general observation, I do believe we should explore a system that only allows the captains to speak to the referee when discussing a decision or waiting for a VAR review.

Doing that will help avoid situations where a gang of players surround the official.

Only captains should be permitted to speak to officials when discussing decisions Only captains should be permitted to speak to officials when discussing decisions

Only captains should be permitted to speak to officials when discussing decisions

 

5. PUNISHMENT… 

Do we ever see players sent off for foul and abusive language towards the officials now? We should. And then, the punishment should be greater than three matches, which is the same for a dangerous challenge. 

This should extend to the coaches on the sidelines. Brentford boss Thomas Frank came out and said his coaches were more involved with the officials at the weekend because they knew Newcastle assistant Jason Tindall would be. 

That tells us everything. We cannot have teams harassing the officials as a tactic.

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