Marco van Basten claims FIFA is considering a rule which will allow only captains to talk to referees
FIFA, football's premier governing body is exploring the option of introducing a new rule whereby only the captain is allowed to speak with the referees, according to former Dutch legend and current FIFA’s chief technical development officer, Marco van Basten.
The former Ajax and AC Milan striker spoke about talks taking place in order to better player conduct and show more respect for the referees.
"There are a lot of players now who are complaining during a game. I am sure the behaviour of the players can be better - we are thinking about putting it back in the right direction,” he told the BBC.
In line with the above thought process, FIFA has tried the concept of video referees in the recently concluded Club World Cup won by Real Madrid. The video referee grants the match official access to replays of key incidents on a television monitor. This move has received praise from FIFA president Gianni Infantino as well.
“This is what we have to do to help the referees. We try to make a good product - dynamic, exciting, but in the end also honest. There's a lot of emotion in the game and that's what's good - but we have to control it also,” said van Basten regarding the discussions taking place.
If the rule of allowing only the captain to speak with the referees is incorporated into the game, it would make football similar to rugby where stringent rules exist in this regard. Further, only the captain can converse with the referees and in return the referee speaks only to the captain.
When probed regarding the comparisons with rugby, van Basten remarked, “I think we can learn from every sport and they can learn from us - but we have to confront the problem."
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A move in this direction has already been implemented in this 2016-2017 Premier League season. The English Football Association decided to punish offensive language, aggressive behaviour and unwanted gestures by the players towards the match officials by showing a red card. This rule has seen players getting carded for expressing excessive dissent at the officials’ decisions and is slowly reducing the rounding up of referee by players.
If FIFA passes the rule allowing only captains to speak with referees, it will lead to an interesting dynamic both in how captains are chosen and how the information is relayed between referee and other players.