complaints procedure

LMA demand new process for ref grievances

March 4, 2009

Football clubs, managers and players should have a formalised complaints procedure for refereeing decisions, according to a report produced by the League Managers' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association.

The two bodies have published a number of recommendations to support professional referees and improve standards in the game, which have been delivered to the Football Association for consideration.

A working party led by former BBC director general and Brentford Football Club non-executive chairman Greg Dyke has also targeted establishing a talent recognition and fast-track scheme for referees, the appointment of a director of professional referee training and the introduction of a referee academy.

"The LMA and the PFA have brought together a wealth of football knowledge and experience with the single objective of improving refereeing standards in the professional game," said Dyke.

"Our research was extensive and the working party's recommendations are both thorough and considered.

"I have been impressed with the willingness of managers and players to focus on developing a unified set of constructive recommendations.

"However, an overall improvement in the quality of referee decision-making can only be delivered if all stakeholders are prepared to address the shortcomings in current systems and processes."

LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson added: "Football has changed and developed enormously over recent years and the job of the referee has become an increasingly difficult one.

"The game is quicker, players are fitter and more skilful, there is a more scientific approach to player development and advances in technology allow every element of a game to be analysed.

"Given this backdrop, we want to work with the professional officials to ensure that the highest possible standards are achieved."

The key recommendations from the working party are:

- Implementation of a formalised complaints and feedback procedure for clubs, managers and players.

- Establishment of a referee academy tasked with research and talent identification, including a fast-tracking system to recognise special ability.

- Appointment of a director of professional referee training to develop working parties in: research, development of competences, talent identification, training with emphasis on simulated training, continuous professional development, quality control.

- Appointment of full-time referee academy staff tutor assessors, reporting to the director of professional referee training.

- Development of a set of agreed competences, which serve as the basis for talent identification, training and quality control of professional football referees.

- Establishment of 'tests of competence', which acknowledge the experience gained by former players who wish to be assessed.

- PGMOL to employ and appoint referees from a pool of licensed professional football referees who have achieved the required level of competence.

- Improvement in the employment position of officials including providing full-time professional contracts for all licensed professional referees.

- All games in the Barclays Premier League and the Coca-Cola Football League to be refereed by licensed professional referees with video referee performance analysis on every game.

- Redefine and reassess the work of the professional football technical review committee and the strategy for the fulfilment of recommendations regarding law changes and interpretation.