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Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Webb says Respect campaign works

Howard Webb
Scenes like this at Ewood Park in 2006 are less common-place, says Webb

Premier League referee Howard Webb insists player behaviour has improved markedly following the introduction of the Respect campaign this season.

The campaign is aimed at building good ties between officials and players, but it has come under renewed scrutiny amid claims that it is already faltering.

However, Webb said: "We have not really seen players surrounding or haranguing referees as a regular occurrence.

"From my own games, the respect levels from players have been really good."

The Rotherham official added: "After the game at Everton (against Middlesbrough on Sunday) myself and the other officials came off the field talking about how respectful the players had been."

BBC Sport football expert Alan Hansen has warned that the campaign "will never work perfectly and we just have to live with that reality", while recently managers have been increasingly outspoken at officials' decisions.

The FA sought a meeting with the League Managers' Association earlier this month in an attempt to get the campaign back on track after outspoken comments from managers including Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear.

And Webb admitted: "There have been some comments made by managers post-match and the FA are dealing with those."

BBC Sport expert Alan Hansen
But he added: "I didn't expect the culture and attitude within football to change overnight but we have to bang the drum to get the message across, with consistently strong punishments for those who step over the line.

"Passion and frustration and disappointment are all part of football.

"But there has to be a little switch in people's heads when they say 'okay, that's enough, I have to think about the image of the game'."

England under-21 boss Stuart Pearce has urged players and managers to stick with the campaign, saying: "It's important we don't come to the stage where we are now and throw the whole campaign away and feel as though it's not working.

"Something had to be done and this is a step in the right direction."

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see also
Alan Hansen's column
17 Nov 08 |  Football
FA to act over respect for refs
11 Nov 08 |  Football
Kinnear asked to explain ref jibe
11 Nov 08 |  Newcastle
Referees 'only human', says Webb
06 Nov 08 |  Football
Watford manager is charged by FA
25 Sep 08 |  Watford

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