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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 4, 2008

Hughes calls for introduction of European refs

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has called for the introduction of European referees into the Barclays Premier League to reduce the current torrent of yellow cards being shown.

Hughes is frustrated many mis-timed tackles in English domestic football result in an immediate caution.

The Rovers manager, whose team are bottom of the Fair Play League, believes continental referees give greater leeway and allow the game to flow more, as illustrated in the Champions League.

He said: 'Maybe it's a case where we introduce European referees to the Premier League and our referees referee in other European countries. Maybe that's something we can look at.

'Maybe referees plying their trade week in, week out in this country become too familiar with certain players and certain teams and maybe on occasions inevitably it will cloud their judgment.

'Referees obviously prepare very professionally, like we do for the opposition, for the teams they are going to be working with so sometimes that can cloud the game even before it has kicked off.'

Hughes added: 'Maybe the option of bringing in European referees to referee our games could possibly be looked at and give them the opportunity to referee teams that they haven't refereed on that many occasions.

'Maybe that would allow the game to possibly flow a little bit better. But the bottom line is that they have all got to get the big decisions right.'

Despite a major change in playing style over the past couple of seasons, the disciplinary statistics suggest Blackburn are still struggling to shake off their reputation as a physical side.

Hughes feels his players should not be pre-judged but does not want to see an end to their competitive element.

He said: 'We don't want a non-contact sport, that's not what football's about. Obviously we want to see good players being able to ply their trade and not be intimidated by physical teams who are going to try and stop them at all costs.

'But if you take away the competitive edge it's going to affect the game we know in a bad way and fundamentally the game changes. The balance has got to be right.'