I have just read an interesting article on the BBC Sport website in which Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Stephen Hunt suggests his team needs to be more 'streetwise' in games. You would think that would mean they need to close out games more often (Blah blah blah, how many times have I heard that). No. What he means by being 'streetwise' is that his teammates should surround the referee when he has a decision to make. Here is a blurb from that BBC Sport piece:
Hunt cited a recent example in a match against Stoke City when Potters defender Jonathan Woodgate conceded a penalty after previously being booked - but he was not sent off.
He was substituted shortly after by manager Tony Pulis and Stoke went on to win the match 2-1.
The Republic of Ireland international added: "Everyone does it now.
"We have been done in the past - like with Woodgate. We should have surrounded the referee to get him sent off."
Now we have all seen players surround the referee, but have you ever heard a player describe it as a tactic they should be using? I assume it is just a heat of the moment thing, or just a certain player or team showing complete ignorance to the rules and the referee (Mr Terry & Chelsea). But are teams sent out on the pitch with the intent of imposing themselves on the Ref? I think this really needs to be looked at.
The FA needs to step in here and give specific instruction for referees to punish players that do this. I know this is a cliché, but these players are role models to youngsters with the way they conduct themselves on the pitch. If something isn't done now, it will carry on for another generation. If the referees are not told to do something, then the powers that be should go and fine -- and suspend constant abusers -- after the matches. It really is one of my pet hates regarding the beautiful game.
Refs are only human. And while they won't be swayed directly in their decision making, I am sure home teams get the rub of the green against the away team when it comes to 50-50 decisions. The same with big teams getting favourable decisions against the small fish. I think the FA should, in my opinion, take away a variable and punish those players who get in the ref's face, especially when they run from 50-60 yards away.