Brian Moore, former England hooker, has been discussing the merits of introducing referee microphones that are audible during live match broadcasts. Moore’s argument is that the added transparency that would provide a deterrent for the language and disrespect that litters football.
He’s right – and he’s also a season-ticket holder at a Premier League club, so he’s entitled to his opinion.
The general reaction to this has been along the tedious ‘Brian Moore was a rugby player, he don’t know no football innit’ road, but that’s missing the point – this is a necessary step, which would demonstrate a proactive approach to something that has become a real problem.
Yes, the content of the referee feed may well be a bit ‘PG’ initially, but Moore argues that an improvement would be seen in on-pitch language ‘within six weeks’. That might be a little optimistic as a timeline, but his logic is sound enough – there’s currently no motivation for any improvement. Shine a light on a problem, and you can start to force a resolution, but keep it in the dark and it will fester.
There’s a counter-argument here that states that, because of the backgrounds of some of these players, curbing their habits of expression and sharper social habits is a thankless task. Spare me; these are multi-millionaire adults, save the ‘poor little council estate boy’ excuses. Grow up, or get banned or fined – that should be The FA’s mantra here.
Essentially, like every other facet of the game, if a governing body is determined to force a change, then they just need to be serious enough with the processes they put in place to force that development. There was a time when studs-up tackling was ‘an integral part of football’ and ‘a good, honest challenge’, but that changed too – the message to the players is simple, modify your technique or you’re not staying on the pitch.
Part of the reason why football is so resistant to change, is because it’s been allowed to do whatever it wants for too long – it dictates its own agenda. Incidents like the one we’re seeing unfold at the moment between Chelsea and Mark Clattenburg are the product of that – players, referees, fans…there’s not enough scrutiny over any department of the game. Do you remember hearing the transcripts of the John Terry trial and cringing at how childish and vulgar lot of the on-pitch behaviour was? Well why should that be allowed to continue.
Football is just the game that refuses to grow up, so maybe it’s time to force it to mature?
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