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Nov 10, 2008

FA seek showdown over lack of 'Respect'

FA chiefs have acknowledged that their 'Respect' campaign is floundering after a heavy outbreak of outbursts against referees from managers. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was charged with improper conduct for coming onto the pitch to remonstrate with match official Mike Dean when his team played Hull City last week, while Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear is likely to face similar action after labelling Martin Atkinson "a Mickey Mouse referee" on Sunday.

The FA are set for crisis talks with the League Managers' Association and individual bosses. FA director of governance Jonathan Hall said: "It has been disappointing to witness various incidents of managers publicly criticising referees over the past few weeks.

"The FA will seek to meet with the LMA and individual managers regarding the Respect programme as soon as possible and offer them a further opportunity to raise any concerns. The LMA were fully involved in the pre-season consultation and we welcome their continued support for the programme."

Hall said managers needed to be more understanding of match officials: "We accept that it can be very frustrating for managers when an incorrect decision is taken, but no referee does so deliberately, just as players and managers do not deliberately make mistakes.

"It is easy to support officials when a decision goes your way, the real test is the ability to show understanding when a call goes against you.

"There are already various official 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."

Hall maintained the campaign has had a positive impact, saying: "There have been some positive signs at the top end of the game, in particular the drop in instances of players harassing referees," he said.

"Additionally, we should also make clear that there have only been a small number of league managers who have chosen to publicly criticise officials on the field or through the media.

"This is a long-term commitment and the FA will continue to work with all other organisations to improve behaviour across the game."

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