Top bosses set for refs debate

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Football News

The League Managers Association have called a meeting for next month to discuss ways in which refereeing standards can be improved.

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan has arranged the get-together which will involve managers from the Barclays Premier League and Football League. There will be discussions over the performance, consistency and training of officials, which will result in a series of recommendations to be made to the Football Association and Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL).

Bevan said: "The LMA has organised this debate to generate proposals that will improve refereeing standards in all professional leagues."

He added: "Our members have unrivalled depth of knowledge, experience and expertise and we are going to harness that for the benefit of the game.

"Managers have sympathy for match officials, who are doing a tough job in often difficult circumstances, and they genuinely want to explore ideas that bring improvement in the way games are refereed.

"We will present our recommendations to the FA and the PGMOL with the intention of stimulating discussion that drives football forward in a positive way.

"The large number of managers who are planning to attend, from right across the four top leagues, is an indication of both the depth of feeling on refereeing issues and their strong desire to offer ideas and be a part of the solution."

The announcement of the meeting comes at a time when the first cracks in the FA's Respect campaign are beginning to appear. Respect was introduced this season in response to what was viewed as a decreasing standard of behaviour in the professional game, plus the dwindling numbers at amateur level willing to become officials.

The initiative was launched with the backing of all major bodies within the English game, including the LMA and the Professional Footballers' Association.

However, after initially receiving a positive response, a newspaper report has emerged claiming at least two, unnamed, Premier League managers are thinking about 'walking away' from Respect amid claims of a one-way street in dealings over disciplinary matters.

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