A lack of trust will kill the game

The problem in football these days is that nobody trusts anybody. Referees don't trust players - when players go to ground was it a foul, an accidental clash or a dive?

When the ball goes out of play, why, when one player knows he kicked it off, do they both demand the throw?

Players don't trust referees either. When a free kick or penalty is given, players surround the referee and question the validity of his decision.

The player who tripped the opponent claims he got the ball even when it is clear that he did not.

Oleksandr Aliyev

Play acting: Olexandr Aliyev

When a well-placed assistant referee correctly calls offside, the forward wags his finger, unable to trust the arbiter's judgment. Worst of all is when players accuse referees of giving a free kick because their opponents are one of the big four. Referees don't know whether to stop play for a player's injury to be assessed because maybe he is just feigning to break up play. You only have to look at Dynamo Kiev's Olexandr Aliyev at The Emirates this week to understand the problem.

Now referees are having to micro manage free kicks just to ensure the kicker does not move the ball or that the wall does not move forward. As a result, the referee cannot take up the best position to judge what really matters in the penalty area.

Look at why Mike Dean was unable to award a penalty for Sunderland when Kenwyne Jones was wrestled to the ground by West Ham's James Collins as a free kick was floated in last weekend. This foul was one of the clearest examples of the all too prevalent 'wrestling' which takes place when set pieces are taken.

It all comes down to trust. Dean could not trust the players to behave before the free kick was taken. He would have preferred to be able to move into the field to adjudicate on the pushing and shoving in the area.

When he was finally able to turn his attention to the penalty area, he saw Jones hitting the floor but could not trust his instincts as players do sometimes simulate or exaggerate contact.

So with players not trusting referees' judgment and referees not trusting their own instincts, is it any wonder that mistakes are made? Maybe the Respect programme, which is in need of a lift, could look for a rebranding and become known as the Trust programme. 

Respect

Once again, Roy Keane came to my attention for his post match press conference following the game described in my piece above. While he confirmed that he felt his team should have had a penalty, he accepted the referee could not see the offence from his position. Well done Keano.

Did you see that?

Wayne Rooney issued an apology after two clear dives in his Champions League match this week. Roberto Rosetti, the Italian referee in charge, who I praised for his attempt to protect Cristiano Ronaldo, should have cautioned Rooney on the first occasion and then I do not believe the second would have occurred.

Rooney's apology was refreshing, however he is not the only Englishman seen diving in recent weeks. David Bentley and Steven Gerrard have also been guilty of attempting to deceive referees, who must issue yellow cards every time they detect simulation and ensure that diving does not become prevalent again.

The referee's clinic

Q:I was booked for sarcastically applauding a referee, even though I have no official role at my son's club. Is this right and can I appeal? I am sorry if I caused offence.
Mr J Dolan

A: Parents need to set to an example to their kids. The caution is meaningless, because you are not registered but it could damage the status of your son’s team. It’s another example of the game still needing more respect. You should hang your head in shame, Mr Dolan.

Email your questions to Graham: g.poll@dailymail.co.uk

Watch out for...

The top two referees in the country taking charge of this weekend's two highest profile games - Howard Webb referees the Manchester derby and Mike Dean follows with a historically difficult game at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea host Arsenal.

People claim referees are not accountable but their marks are added up and a merit table results. The top refs get the top games hence Sunday's appointments for Nos 1 and 2 in the table.

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