UEFA: Let the captains do the talking

Would you believe it? First it was FIFA, and now UEFA are finally talking sense about improving the state of the game.

Uefa is considering copying rugby’s lead by allowing only captains to talk to referees during games.

From the BBC article:

In a Football Focus special report to be aired on BBC One on Saturday, Uefa’s William Gaillard admits the current situation is becoming “dangerous”.

He believes captains should take more liability for the game’s direction.

“It’s common in rugby to call both captains and say ‘cut it out, the game is not taking the right course and it is up to you’,” said Gaillard.

About time they started doing this – I’ve been saying this since the world cup, and I imagine a lot of football fans have been supporting this for much longer than that.

A lot of problems on the pitch can be solved by making the captain more responsible for their team.

Gaillard’s, and UEFA’s, motivation for this is to protect referees from violence that occurs at the amateur level as the result of contestable refereeing decisions, and while it is good to see UEFA moving in the right direction it is also sad to see them moving there only when there is an acute shortage of referees at the grassroots level.

They’ve waited till the situation is almost out of control before reacting.

Let’s hope that they move faster now, and by next season we’re not only seeing goalline video tech introduced, but have also made captains solely responsible for their teams on the pitch.

What was more interesting in the article were quotes from David Ellerey, former international ref:

“I think it would be sad if we said that you can never comment on a decision or say a referee made a mistake.

We comment on players making mistakes – for example, Saha missing the penalty (against Celtic on Tuesday).

It was a crucial error but he didn’t deliberately miss it, and it doesn’t mean he is an incompetent player.

But if the referee had made a similar error in that game there would be questions about his integrity, judgement and competence.

It’s what is behind the criticism, and the nature of the criticism, that is damaging for referees and football, not the criticism itself.”

He’s spot on.

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