Sutcliffe urges respect for officials

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Football News

Sport minister Gerry Sutcliffe has raised concerns that cheating or criticising officials may have an unhelpful effect on younger players.

Diving to earn penalties has been a hot topic in the Champions League and Barclays Premier League this season, Liverpool striker David Ngog the latest player to be accused of conning the referee.

Sutcliffe told Press Association Sport: "We have been very careful to support governing bodies, through the respect campaign in football and through other sports where we have kicked racism out."

He added: "Sport stars are role models - there is no doubt about that - and it affects youngsters in different sports. We want to see sport grow and develop, because its power can change lives. But we want to see respect and make sure all our sports and sport stars realise they are role models."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been critical of referees during this campaign.

The issue of attracting new umpires and officials to sport was raised when Sutcliffe announced Sport England's injection of £10million, aimed at encouraging the participation of women caring for children or those from deprived communities.

"Sport cannot run without administrators and referees," he added.

"Football is high profile and very emotional - but if people step back and look at the quality we have in terms of impartiality of umpires, referees and administrators, it would be more helpful to be positive about what goes on."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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David Ngog
Premier League
Manchester United

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