Football: Roth wants more respect for referees

14th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 March 2005, HAMBURG - Football officials on Monday urged players and fans to meet match officials with respect in the wake of the weekend resignation of Swedish referee Anders Frisk over a series of death threats.

14 March 2005

HAMBURG - Football officials on Monday urged players and fans to meet match officials with respect in the wake of the weekend resignation of Swedish referee Anders Frisk over a series of death threats.

Lennart Johannsson, head of Europe's ruling body UEFA, told Germany's Kicker sports magazine that coaches may have to be banned in the future in a drastic measure of damage control.

German (and European) referee chief Volker Roth did not rule out a Bundesliga referee strike as a last resort if matters got out of hand.

In Germany, referees are under fire in a match-fixing affair around Robert Hoyzer and other referees and after a series of controversial calls in the Bundesliga over the past weeks.

Frisk, who is considered to be one of the world's best referees and was in charge of the Euro 2000 final, resigned last Friday after being the target of several death threats, mainly from England.

The threats came after a Champions League match between Barcelona and Chelsea last month in which Frisk sent off Chelsea's Didier Drogba.

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho heavily attacked Frisk after the match and even claimed Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had tried to influence him.

"Up to now we were upset about statements from coaches on referees that show no respect. In the future we may have to ban them over a long period in order to protect the referees," Johansson told Kicker.

Roth, a former FIFA referee, said in an interview with Swedish paper Aftenbladet that "people like Mourinho are the enemies of football".

The UEFA is conducting an investigation against Mourinho. Its referee commission is due to meet Thursday in Oslo. German FIFA referees meet on Tuesday, with the latest developments top of the agenda.

"The regrettable resignation of Anders Frisk, who has a superb international reputation, must show all footballers and fans that fair play must be observed towards referees," Roth said in a statement issued Monday by the governing body DFB.

"Of course we make mistakes like any player or coach. But that should not lead to referees being insulted or threatened.

"If things escalate and close calls, which are sometimes only clarified in the third TV relays, result in over-reactions then even the world's best referees call it quits," said Roth.

Roth said that German referees were ready to admit mistakes and aimed to learn from them, but that recent harsh reactions had made life more and more difficult for them.

But Roth said that a referee strike in the German Bundesliga would be the very last resort if developments became uncontrollable.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article