Belfast Telegraph

Managers and officials need to build up a better rapport: Ref chief

By Laure James

The Northern Ireland Football League's referees' chief David Malcolm has admitted Roy Carroll's dismissal against Glenavon on Saturday left authorities red-faced.

After reviewing footage of the game, which ended in a 2-2 draw, referee Tim Marshall admitted the Linfield goalkeeper hadn't spat in the direction of the Lurgan Blues' dug-out, prompting the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee to clear Carroll of any subsequent suspension.

Malcolm regrets the "embarrassing" blunder and wants to establish better relations between managers and officials prior to each kick-off.

"I'm massively disappointed to see it happen and the good thing is they have put it right, but there's no taking away from the fact it is an embarrassing situation," Malcolm said. "Our referees make mistakes, they are only human but they have integrity.

"We've talked about trying to get the managers to bring the team-sheets into the dressing room an hour before the game instead of sending the secretary, to try to build up a rapport.

"I can understand managers being angry and being under pressure in high-profile games. There is so much more pressure involved in the game now.

"Do I think managers and referees are going to enjoy a cup of tea together right away? No. They have a job to do and so do we but we have to work together.

"If you have better relationships off the pitch, it means you have a better chance of stopping things blowing up if there is a problem on the pitch."

The question has been asked whether Marshall's admission of error has set a precedent for overturning refereeing calls, yet Malcolm is clear on the subject.

He added: "It's only cases of when there is a clear and obvious mistake by a referee and it's not an opinion or while the ball is in play - this was an incident during a break of play which the referee did not see and his assistant told him one thing and he was sent off because of it."

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