Thursday, 29 January 2015


PAUL Hayward, the chief  sports writer on The Daily Telegraph, has spoken out against the chummy tendencies of some referees.

During this week's Capital One Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool, he found disfavour with the behaviour of fourth official Kevin Friend towards the coaching assistants on both benches.

He writes: "Twice he shuffled over to Rui Faria on the Chelsea side and threw an arm round him as he spoke.

"This over-familiarity with people referees and their assistants are meant to be controlling leaves some of us feeling queasy.

"It stems from a mistaken belief that managers and coaches can somehow be won over in the heat of battle.

"In reality, they have no interest in making friends with match officials. They just want to gain an edge: to pressurise those in charge."

Hayward makes a valid point, but will it be  heeded?.

When Graham Poll and Mark Halsey wrote their refereeing memoirs, they or their publishers both sought out endorsements in the form of forewords from managers - Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. In neither case did this enhance credibility or reputation for impartiality - it may even have diminished both.

Referees should be at arm's length from managers, coaches and players - they should emphatically not seek to become members of any we're- all- pals- together-club.

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