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'The behaviour of the Premier League guys is shocking' | Donaghy & Cunningham on referees

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

16:03 13 Feb 2020

With the pressure of being referees in the modern sporting landscape, perhaps the last thing the officials need is players pointlessly arguing every decision with them.

The discussion about how best to deal with referees on Thursday’s OTB AM was prompted by the allegation by Bournemouth that referee Jonathan Moss showed their players “zero respect.”

“I don’t mind if a referee tells me to be quiet or shut up, '' Kieran Donaghy admitted. 

“I’d actually prefer ‘shut up’ than a smart alec, ‘I’m not listening to you, Kieran’ or something polite or ignoring me,” the former Kerry forward said.

The four-time All-Ireland winner pointed out that the respect shown towards referees in other codes of football was in stark contrast to soccer.

“[In Aussie rules] the refs are mic’d up and it solves the swearing problem. It also puts the onus on the referee to explain things better,” he said.

Donaghy recalled the programme produced by RTÉ in 2015 that documented All-Ireland final day and how he felt it improved the performance of referee - despite Kerry losing to Dublin that day.

“It was great because I felt the level of communication was up even higher than normal maybe, I think if they knew all the time and the players knew, it’d be brilliant for the game,” Donaghy said.

“The behaviour of the Premier League guys is shocking the way they speak to refs. You can see the language flying out of them and they get away with it.

“We don’t get away with that and rightly so, because I don’t want my daughter or young fella in time looking at players absolutely cursing the life out of a referee,” he added.

Kenny Cunningham was also in the studio and joked about the former Premier League player who he thought was the worst offender when it comes to challenging referees.

“I don’t mind the industrial language. Name-calling and when it veers into, ‘you’re a this or you’re a that’ - fair enough [that’s the line],” said Cunningham.

“But the general industrial language as we term it, I’ve no problem with that as it’s a natural thing, to be honest with you.

“But there are some players out there, Ashley Young was one of them, thank god he’s got his move to Inter Milan.

“He used to drive me mad, any decision on the pitch he was right there in the referee's ear.

“Any kind of melee or contentious decision, they’re there and around it, they’re in the middle of it pushing people apart and having a dialogue with the referee.

“It’s kind of like the armband thing giving you superpowers, ‘I got to get in there and get myself involved,” the former Ireland captain said.

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Aussie Rules Bournemouth Football GAA Kenny Cunningham Kieran Donaghy Premier League Referee Rugby Soccer

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