Gordon Taylor, Sports Hero of the Day

Not that he's the first person to come up with this idea, but better copied well than invented badly, I say.
Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballer's Association, wants an exclusion zone to be placed around referees (...).

Taylor has called on football to follow the example of rugby, where only the team captains are allowed to communicate with the referee. (...)


"We have regular meetings with referees and the FA and when there are patterns developing like this then we need to take action," Taylor added. "It can be done with sanctions and an educational process (...)."
My reaction to this is the same as when legalizing gay marriage was discussed in this country: This is a) so obviously a worthy aim and b) so easy to implement that one wonders why such a policy hasn't been in place for a long time. Obviously worthy aim: Show me a football fan on whose nerves it doesn't get when refs are harassed by players, often groups of them, when a decision doesn't go their way. It's quite simply very annoying. As a negative side effect, it prolongs breaks between periods of play. Easy to implement: Just disallow players to talk to the referee unless being addressed first. Bookable offense; that should take care of the problem (no need for education). Possibly an exception for the team captain, but I'm not even sure about this one. Players who want to address the ref can signal this by raising their hand (think school); granting this is at the referee's discretion. Signaling by making a fascist salute will get you sent off. Lots of games in Italy to finish ten against ten.

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