Tigana's ref plea

Monday 19 November 2001

Jean Tigana today claimed poor refereeing is damaging English football and slowing the development of the national team.

The Fulham manager believes standards in the Premier League must be raised because players are not being protected enough.

Tigana has called for talks between managers and officials to iron out problems after a series of incidents involving his side.

He said: "I do not wish to put pressure on referees, but I want to help.

"If the game progresses in England, I am sure they can win big competitions. But for the game to progress we must help the referees to protect it first.

"I want to help for the good of football. I want to meet with the referees and the people who work around the game to explain my vision. I like to speak to them in person and show them tapes and explain how I see the situation. If we can achieve this we will be in a fantastic situation in England. But the priority is to protect the game." Tigana is known to have been unhappy with refereeing in this country for some time but has chosen to stay silent.

He believes the fractured leg suffered by his club record £11.5 million signing from Lyon, striker Steve Marlet, against Southampton three weeks ago was the result of a bad tackle which went unpunished.

Another incident which angered Tigana was the dismissal of Luis Boa Morte against Ipswich last month.

The striker, already booked for raising his hands in a tussle with Ipswich's Fabian Wilnis, received a second caution after being judged to have dived in the penalty area under the challenge of Hermann Hreidarsson.

Tigana added: "Boa Morte should not have been sent off and he should have won a penalty. These were not good decisions."

The Portugal international was suspended for Fulham's 3-1 win against Newcastle on Saturday when Fulham scored through Louis Saha, Sylvain Legwinski and Barry Hayles. Gary Speed replied for Newcastle.