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English clubs have spent well over £1m on fines this season for referee abuse as the issue hit boiling point this week amid Aleksandar Mitrovic’s red card last weekend against Manchester United.
Over 100 fines have been dished out to Premier League and EFL football clubs with the FA collecting an incredible £1.3m. Out of the 92 clubs in the Premier League and Football League, only 36 have managed to escape a fine so far for not failing to control their player and/or staff in disputes with officials.
Premier League clubs have been fined a total of £932,500 so far although that figure will almost certainly eclipse the £1m mark in the coming days when Fulham are sanctioned for the action of Mitrovic and Marco Silva at the weekend.
After Chris Kavanagh awarded Manchester United a penalty and Willian a red card, Silva and Mitrovic both reacted inappropriately with Mitrovic shoving the match official. As a result, Fulham had to play the remainder of the game with nine men and no manager.
Subsequently, there have been calls for Mitrovic to receive a hefty ban to try and deter players from reacting in a similar way to the Serbian in the future. It comes just a couple of weeks after Bruno Fernandes also put his hands on an official during Manchester United’s 7-0 loss to Liverpool.
Arsenal are the country’s worst offenders
The club that have racked up the most referee-related fines this season are Arsenal, who have had to pay the FA a whopping £185,000. On four separate occasions, they have been fined for failing to control their players with players and staff perhaps feeling the heat of the title battle.
Manager, Mikel Arteta has been criticised all season for his touchline antics with the Spaniard commonly seen outside of his technical area on the side of the pitch. He has also been caught on camera mocking match officials which is perhaps rubbing off on his players.
Mikel Arteta caught in 4K mocking the referee! 📸pic.twitter.com/qAh9ZVz8fu
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) February 19, 2023
Manchester United and Everton are in second and third place while the club to receive the biggest single fine for referee abuse this season is Manchester City. During their 3-1 victory over Arsenal on February 15th, the club were fined £75,000 for failing to control their players.
The startling figures aren’t all that surprising when you consider how often we see images of match officials being hounded by players and managers. It comes just five years after Wembley relaunched its “respect” campaign.
Is a bigger deterrent needed?
Premier League football players earn an obscene amount of money. Some of the biggest stars of the league will earn £1.3m in a matter of weeks so perhaps it’s time for different punishments to be put in place as fines clearly aren’t working. In fact, referee abuse only seems to be getting worse.
According to the Sun, Senior FA officials have recently written to all clubs in the Premier League and Football League to remind them of their responsibilities in regard to setting an example for youngsters at grassroots level. An FA spokesperson said:
“Referees and match officials play vital roles in our national sport. Any inappropriate behaviour towards them is completely unacceptable. Players, coaches, support staff and club officials have a responsibility to treat them with respect, and action will be taken against anyone involved in English football where there is evidence that they have failed to meet that standard.”