Frisk stunned by intimidation
Anders Frisk has been left 'stunned' by the recent behaviour of Premier League players towards referees.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 25/03/08 6:42pm
Former World Cup referee Anders Frisk has told Sky Sports News that he has been left 'stunned' by the recent behaviour of Premier League players towards referees.
Last week, The Football Association launched its new Respect initiative aimed at improving the conduct towards match officials, which is already being trialled in 20 regional leagues around the country.
The announcement was made in the same week that Chelsea's Ashley Cole came under heavy criticism after he caught Tottenham's Alan Hutton with a high tackle and turned his back on referee Mike Riley during Wednesday's 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane.
Then, on Grand Slam Sunday, Liverpool's Javier Mascherano was dismissed after receiving two bookings in the first half of his side's 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.
The Argentine was handed a second yellow card for dissent by referee Steve Bennett after questioning the official's decision to caution team-mate Fernando Torres.
The decision infuriated Mascherano, who had to be held back from confronting Bennett, before being escorted off the pitch.
And Frisk, who retired from football following the fall-out from Chelsea's volatile UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2005, has questioned the apparent lack of respect for officials in the English game.
"I think this actually must be very English behaviour," he told Sky Sports News.
"I cannot see this in UEFA Champions League matches or in other domestic football leagues. But I have seen these two very big situations with Cole and Mascherano.
"Actually, I was stunned to see this behaviour because it is very, very seldom you see that kind of behaviour."
Frisk also believes Reds boss Rafa Benitez should have acted in order to prevent Mascherano's dismissal.
He continued: "I was surprised also that the Liverpool coach Benitez did not see it coming. I saw it very early on and I thought 'why does he not take this guy off'."
Frisk also believes that referees face no-win situations as they battle with conflicting opinions and interpretations of the game.
"This is the life of the referee. If you choose to be a referee, you have to take the negative aspects when people think you make mistakes," he exclusively told skysports.com during a filming day for Ford's Feel Football website.
"You have to see yourself above all that and follow the laws of the game no matter what the supporters think.
"To be a referee these days, it is some kind of mission impossible because if you do a decision 50 per cent thinks you are wrong and 50 per cent think you are right."
To join the debate with Frisk and his fellow Ford Feel Football champions Patrick Vieira, Ruud Gullit, Samuel Eto'o and Rudi Voller go to www.FeelFootball.com.