Home > Features > Archived Feature Articles: Kinnear and the Referee Respect programme

Archived Feature Articles: Kinnear and the Referee Respect programme

Following on from my previous posts, please find below one of the previous features I wrote very early on. This is the last I will be posting:

Kinnear used as example to demonstrate ‘rigidity’ of the referee Respect Programme

Newcastle interim manager, Joe Kinnear, has been publicly charged with improper conduct and may be facing a touchline ban by the Football Association (FA) after a jibe comment about Premier League refereeing by Martin Atkinson: “Claudio Cacapa was on the ball and Andrew Johnson completely pushes him out of the way, nicks the ball and gets the penalty,” said Kinnear, following Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat on November 9th to Fulham, and that “we’ve got a Mickey Mouse referee doing nothing. He’s made an error that cost us.” This isn’t the first time Kinnear has been known to vent his opinions about referees to the media. Most notably, he was quoted to have called a referee ‘Coco the Clown’ in his days at Nottingham Forest, an offence which meant he was still serving a touchline ban when he started as manager for Newcastle.

This is exactly the type of ‘abusive’ outburst towards referees that the FA ‘Respect programme’ is looking to eliminate, says FA Director of Governance, Jonathan Hall, who – using this opportunity to remind managers to be mindful of the programme –  has said that whilst “it can be very frustrating for managers when an incorrect decision is taken,” that “no referee does so deliberately – just as players and managers do not deliberately make mistakes.”

Attacks still occur, despite the programme. This was recently highlighted in an attack on referee, Andy Parker, when a red card resulted in Parker’s jaw being broken by St Andrews FC midfielder, Joe Preston. Swift action was taken by management to remove Preston from St Andrews FC, delivering sincerest apologies and assurance of not condoning such behaviour. In the game Manchester United versus Middlesborough on September 23rd, 2008, a number of Middlesborough players surrounded referee, Andre Marriner, using abusive language in an attempt to intimidate him after he made a call to send off Emanuel Pogatetz. Pogatetz had made a tackle which caused Rodrigo Possebon to be taken off the field and given oxygen.

News of the possible suspension of Kinnear has set about criticism from Newcastle fans regarding the Respect campaign, who are disappointed that the FA have not been as stringent with other similar cases, such as the ones outlined above. They comment that whilst the Respect campaign is a good idea in theory, putting this into practice appears to be a different matter. If the FA played a more active role in treating all cases on the same level that they have taken to the Kinnear case, perhaps this would drive the message home right down to grassroots level that such behaviour is unacceptable and that a zero-tolerance consideration is the only way to bring this project forward.

Hall, suggests that the programme is far from demise and sent out a statement following Kinnear’s criticism saying the following: “It has been disappointing to witness various incidents of managers publicly criticising referees. There are already various channels for managers to provide their views on refereeing performances and managers are actively encouraged to use these channels rather than criticising referees through the media,” said Hall. “This is a long-term commitment and The FA will continue to work with all other organisations to improve behaviour across the game.”

For the sake of referees everywhere, let’s hope so.

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