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Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Rangers boss Walter Smith comes to referees' defence


Smith liked 'vow of silence' on refs

Walter Smith has come to the defence of referees in the wake of several managers criticising officials after recent Scottish Premier League games.

"Football managers don't agree with referees' decisions. That's the bottom line," stated the Rangers manager.

"A lot more players are getting sent off for two yellow cards than ever.

"The number of situations that you can get a yellow card for has increased, but that's not always the referee's fault - it's dictated to him."

A number of Smith's counterparts in the Scottish Premier League, notably Motherwell's Jim Gannon and Dundee United's Craig Levein, have criticised match officials in recent weeks.

If you are dissatisfied with the referee, there is a process where you can voice that dissatisfaction. We have the opportunity after every game

Rangers manager Walter Smith

But the veteran Ibrox boss laughed off suggestions that refereeing standards have dipped.

"I liked the vow of silence," Smith joked, referring to the agreement made last year by managers to refrain from criticising the men in black.

"Football managers have always been unhappy about referees, so I don't think there is any change there.

"Sometimes you find when a crop of experienced referees come to the end of their career that, when some of the younger ones come in, there are ups and downs."

In the past two weekends, Dundee United's Prince Buaben, Danny Swanson and Morgaro Gomis, Aberdeen's Mark Kerr and Jerel Ifil, Hearts' Ian Black, Ismael Bouzid and Suso Santana, and Hamilton's Leon Knight have all been issued with red cards.

Rather than point the finger at practising referees, Smith said the impetus for the increase in the number of cards being shown to players is coming from their supervisors.

"People are talking about red cards and players getting sent off," he added.

"If you pull your jersey over your head and then you foul, you get sent off. Or make two innocuous fouls. These are situations that are cropping up more and more.

"If it's dictated to the referee that he has to give a yellow card. It makes it a little more awkward for him as well."

Smith, though, believes that the mechanisms are there to complain about the referee, a system that Gannon in particular feels is too arbitrary.

"If you are dissatisfied with the referee, there is a process in hand where you can voice that dissatisfaction," said the Rangers manager.

"We have the opportunity after every game."

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see also
Smith liked 'vow of silence' on refs
11 Dec 09 |  Scotland
Gannon gag to avoid more ref rows
10 Dec 09 |  Motherwell
Dallas defends response to Gannon
30 Nov 09 |  Scottish Premier
Gannon eyes league table for refs
03 Dec 09 |  Motherwell
Players can cut cautions - Dallas
21 Sep 09 |  Scottish Premier

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