Why the FA's Respect Campaign is broken


Why the FA's Respect Campaign is broken

Picture: Ronnie Macdonald

According to the Telegraph, red cards in the Premier League have risen sharply since 1992, and even more so since the FA implemented the noble-sounding Respect Campaign.

The FA kicked off the campaign in 2008 because of spreading occurrences of abuse towards referees throughout all levels of English football. Considered as referee harassment were from parental shouts in the lower leagues to players flocking around the referee to give him a piece of their mind.

 ‘More and more referees quit football because of abuse’ was the main flag FA’s waved about in support of its policy.

But in the face the ramifications on football in England, such premises miss the mark entirely. The FA has effectively taken away the accountability of the referees and has replaced it with a veil which has reduced the transparency in the game.

Under this umbrella and in the knowledge they would escape unscathed after making mistakes, referees feel more secure in making bold decisions. This increase and power and freedom has turned the spotlight directly towards them on more than occasion.

This is the crux of the problem. It is referee’s job to ensure that game flows and the outcome is fair, not to enforce the rules for the sake of enforcing them and not to stamp their authority as a matter of point.

Here is how it works, currently. The FA assigns referees to groups based on their quality and qualifications. The best referees are part of a ‘select group’. They whistle in the top echelon of English football–the Premier League. Then there is the ‘National group’. Those are around 60 referees who officiate in championships matches and lower.

As would be expected, referees who make mistakes consistently are punished by getting a demotion. At least that’s how it is on paper. In reality, this happens very rarely. In fact, it hasn’t happened since 2012 when Stuart Artwell dropped to being a ‘national referee’. He was reinstated in 2016. If this is how the FA deals with incompetent referring, then it seems they are doing this not as a punishment but to temporarily take the spotlight away from referees.

The referee made a mistake? Deal with it. In fact, don’t even mention it. This is the main message that hides behind ‘respect’ in this campaign. Such censure is not new to English football, but the fact is it serves to leave dubious decisions and peculiar behavior with no visible consequences.

Mike Dean exemplifies a referee who brings subjectivity to his officiating. He is a referee who has taken his power on the pitch quite literally. Just to point out a relevant statistic, Tottenham Hotspur have won six matches out of their last seven with Dean as a referee. He has awarded them five penalties during that time. On the other hand, Arsenal have lost 15 and won 11 with him as a referee since 2004.

But if Dean seems incapable of refereeing objectively in some fixtures, why hasn’t the FA done anything about it? I really don’t know.

In that regard, the campaign is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it protects the people who do this undoubtedly difficult job, and on the other, it becomes a breeding ground for arrogance in referees.

It’s about time the FA took a look at the turn English football has taken. The matches in the Premier League look increasingly theatrical and devoid of charge. I am not asking for much, just that the referees are taken out of the outcome of the matches. In other words, I am asking for a little accountability on their behalf.



Add comment

Load More

Manchester CityAvram Grant: English football is ‘good education’ for Guardiola

LiverpoolLiverpool to break club transfer record on defender

ArsenalHenry reveals tricks of the goal-scoring trade

ArsenalWenger explains why he won’t sell Sanchez

ChelseaConte shows his paranoid side amidst Costa speculation

Arsenal EPL: Arsenal vs Leicester City preview

ArsenalArsenal: Does the formation change mean Wenger surrendered his values?

Tottenham HotspurLloris: Our identity remains intact after Chelsea loss

Tottenham HotspurManchester United want Tottenham star

ChelseaLuiz on why players tick under Conte's 3-4-3 and his critics

Manchester CitySane aims to disappoint Gunners again in FA Cup clash

LiverpoolKlopp urges Anfield crowd for support


Premier League

P GD Pts
1 Chelsea 33 40 78
2 Tottenham 33 47 74
3 Liverpool 34 28 66
4 Man City 33 28 65
5 Man Utd 33 26 64
6 Arsenal 32 24 60
7 Everton 34 23 58
8 West Brom 33 -3 44
9 Southampton 32 -5 40
10 Watford 33 -17 40
11 Stoke 34 -13 39
12 Crystal Palace 34 -8 38
13 Bournemouth 34 -14 38
14 West Ham 34 -15 38
15 Leicester 33 -13 37
16 Burnley 34 -16 36
17 Hull 34 -31 33
18 Swansea 34 -29 31
19 Middlesbrough 34 -19 27
20 Sunderland 33 -33 21
23,424 Subscribers
Select a reason...
Report   Cancel
Select a reason...
Report   Cancel
Select a reason...
Report   Cancel

Delete Post

Deleted posts are gone forever. Are you sure?

Изтий   Откажи


Discard edits to this post?

Discard   Откажи

Cancel Changes

Your changes will not be saved. Continue?

Yes   No

Reblog Post

Reblog this post to your followers?

Изпрати   Откажи

Undo Reblog

Mute Topic

This will prevent any content posted to this Topic from displaying in your feed.

Mute   Откажи


Block Member

Are you sure?

Block   Откажи


Delete Comment

Are you sure?

Изтий   Откажи

Delete Account

All content will be permanently removed from the site. Are you sure?

Изтий   Откажи


Update   Cancel

Unban User

Remove User

Remove Moderator

Remove yourself as a moderator

Are you sure?

Submit   Cancel

Leaving Moderation!

Are you sure you want to stop being a moderator?

Yes   No

Select a reason...
Submit   Cancel
Select a reason...
Submit   Cancel

By opting in to see NSFW content you certify that you are 18 years of age or older.

Yes   No