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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
PFA chief's chat line
PFA calls for greater dialogue between players and officials
PFA calls for greater dialogue between players and officials
Brendon Batson has reminded Premier League referees that it is good to talk as they approach the new season.

The Football Association announcement that players who manhandle officials will be handed an automatic twelve-match ban has been broadly welcomed across the soccer spectrum.

Batson, deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, also believes the move should be applauded.

But he thinks as well that if referees rekindle the art of conversation, potential flashpoints can be avoided.

"We can't have referees being physically abused and though the incidents which have occurred recently are isolated, they are still regrettable," he said.

Marc Vivien Foe - clashed with referee
Marc Vivien Foe - clashed with referee
"Hopefully these measures will help eradicate them because we want to see situations like that reduce rather than escalate.

"But maybe better use could be made of the communication channel between referees and captains.

"If it looks as though a situation is getting out of hand, the referee should not be afraid of talking to the captain and making sure he calms his own team down.

"That can often be the most effective way of defusing tension in what, after all, is a fairly stressful situation for all concerned."

Batson is also urging the FA to examine each case on its merits rather than impose the maximum punishment for each offence.

During the summer, former West Ham player Marc-Vivien Foe received an 8,000 fine for his involvement in a disturbance at the end of the London derby with Arsenal in May, but received a sympathetic hearing from the FA, who ruled he had only grabbed referee Paul Durkin in his desperation to make a point.


The Di Canio incident is an extreme example of what cann happen
  PFA's Brendan Batson
This contrasts sharply with the eleven-match ban Paolo di Canio received for toppling Paul Alcock, also against the Gunners, while he was a Sheffield Wednesday player.

"The Di Canio incident is an extreme example of what can happen," said Batson.

"But there is a world of difference between that and just putting your hand on someone's shoulder in order to make a point.

"Unless the FA are sensible about this, players could run the risk of a lengthy ban for doing not a lot.

"A lot of discussion went into this area between all the parties involved.

Hopefully there will be an improvement because of the penalties which have been brought in, but every case has to be treated entirely on its merits."

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See also:

27 Jul 00 |  Football
Imports limit showdown
26 Jul 00 |  Football
Referees welcome FA crackdown
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