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Page last updated at 05:44 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 06:44 UK

Ref critics 'must be dealt with'

Kenny Clark
Kenny Clark said it was "open season" on match officials

The Scottish Football Association has gone soft on dealing with managers who criticise match officials, according to a former top referee.

Kenny Clark, who retired as a Grade One official at the end of the season, says the SFA must adopt a tougher stance.

He told BBC Scotland: "Referees are blamed but managers are loathe to criticise their players."

Clark said it was "open season" on match officials and that managers threw up a smokescreen to blame referees.

Interview: Former referee Kenny Clark

Clark, who refereed his final game in Aberdeen's 2-0 victory over Rangers on the last day of the Scottish Premier League season, said officials were not receiving the respect they deserved.

And he urged the SFA to consider how it approached the growing tide of criticism against referees.

"I think we either need to consider taking a harder line or realise that they're simply not controlling it and paying lip service to it," he stated.

"In my opinion, the SFA in recent years has gone soft on coaches - particularly on comments during post-match conferences.

"It used to be managers and coaches were far more careful about what they said, now it seems to be open season."

Clark added: "They throw up a smokescreen blaming the referee and then fans start having a go at the referee as well."

see also
Sports psychologists to aid refs
07 Jun 08 |  Football
Levein waits for outburst outcome
03 Jun 08 |  Dundee Utd
Hughes angry with SFA ref choice
26 Apr 08 |  Falkirk
Dons' Diamond criticises referee
20 Apr 08 |  Aberdeen
Ref Clark wants player respect
23 Sep 05 |  Celtic

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