Support The Ref week on Sky Sports: What we learned
We highlight the best bits from Sky Sports' Support The Ref week 2018
Last Updated: 24/03/18 4:03pm
It has been an enlightening week on Sky Sports, but what exactly have we learned from the Support The Ref campaign?
We kicked off the week with an exclusive piece of research in collaboration with the FA on referees' attitudes towards the media, managers and parents, before moving onto rule changes, diversity in officiating and decision making.
On Thursday, our VAR special highlighted the positives behind technology, and what needs to be done to improve the process for fans and players alike.
Here, we run through the best bits from a busy week...
Lack of respect for refs at elite level is encouraging poor grassroots behaviour, according to a survey by Sky Sports and The FA.
The survey, completed by 2,905 grassroots officials, found that 91 per cent believe the apparent lack of respect for their colleagues in the elite game is a "big or fairly big problem" for grassroots refs and the behaviour towards them.
The exclusive collaboration between Sky Sports and the FA also discovered that 76 per cent of grassroots refs believe elite managers' criticisms of referees is a big or fairly big problem.
We then had the FA's head of refereeing Neale Barry give his verdict on the eye-catching findings...
For the first time in post-war history, England will have no referee representative at this summer's World Cup.
Mark Clattenburg had been included on the pre-selected group drawn up by FIFA in 2016 and was involved in training for the tournament in Russia, before leaving the Premier League and moving to Saudi Arabia in February.
Mike Riley explained it's a case of bad timing rather than bad quality.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, referee Ryan Atkin says he has had no issues after becoming the first publicly 'out' professional official in football in the UK.
Diversity in refereeing
Throughout the week we highlighted the need for diversity within officiating, focusing on...
The life of female refs...
Why BAME refs need more role models...
How to become a referee...
And how even players are being encouraged to take up the whistle...
Rule changes in football
Always a hot topic of debate, we allowed you the opportunity to suggest some rule changes within the game. We received a wave of interesting suggestions...
But what would the experts say? We had Mike Riley, Dermot Gallagher and Neale Barry give their views...
- Mic up the refs? Expert view: Never!
- Only captains approach the refs? Expert view: It could happen
- Celebrate as you wish? Expert view: Harsh, but it won't change
- Ref does post-match interview? Expert view: Never!
- Sin-bins for yellow cards? Expert view: It will happen
- Three VAR challenges? Expert view: Slim chances
And in fact, sin-bins are already being trialled across England, despite it coming low down on your preferred list of rule changes!
VAR: Will it work?
Then came Thursday, our VAR special, and with it some very strong views both for and against the use of video tech in our beloved game.
First, we covered the VAR special programme on Sky Sports News HERE, with the help of Dermot Gallagher and Mike Riley.
We then looked across the world of sport, and how teething problems occurred in cricket, rugby union, tennis and NFL, with the help of our experts in each sport.
We then broke down the stats from nearly 1,000 games to have used VAR across the world; they may surprise you...
And finally, former Spurs and Hull midfielder Ryan Mason joined England defender Laura Bassett at the VAR match centre in Stockley Park, taking part in real-life VAR situations, using the same communication and viewing tools used by the PGMO.
If you say you haven't moaned about a referee, you'd be lying.
But in this day and age of in-depth statistics, analysis and technology, just how well do officials perform week-by-week?
We got the numbers and broke them down into bite-size chunks. Again, you may be surprised...
If you were handed the offside flag, how do you think you'd get on?
We've gathered eight mock match situations, and we want you to give us your verdict on whether they are offside or not.
Wise refs a game
Former Chelsea midfielder Dennis Wise became referee for one evening as he took charge of SSN v The FA.
The scourge of many a referee during his playing days, who better than Wise to try his hand as the man in black? Wise, who picked up 70 yellows and was sent off five times in his career, took the first half of the clash in west London.