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English Premier League

The FA & Premier League need to step up fast

After the ringing of my alarm in the morning, the first thing I hear, like many others, is the sound of talkSPORT. The station is simply first-class in its football coverage. However, last week the main talking points have been based around the more unsavoury aspects of the game.

Spitting and FA charges have been the hot topics of discussion. Whether it be talkSPORT, Sky Sports News or the national press, these stories have dominated the headlines. Yet when I hear or see the next in line on the ex-player conveyor belt put his two bob in about how disgusting spitting is, am I the only one who thinks it’s getting tedious now?

Yes spitting is completely wrong and it has no place in football, or wider society for that matter, but can we just let Pappiss Cisse and Jonny Evans take their punishments and get on with it? Cisse apologised, he’s accepted his charge, let’s just move on.

Stories such as these that dominate headlines are becoming increasingly common in the modern game, and it’s really starting to wind me up. The media certainly doesn’t help matters. They love incidents types of incidents because it sparks debate. But to me, this is not what I want to be listening to, watching or reading about as a football fan.

There has also been a noticeable rise in the number of refereeing decisions that have been scrutinised in the media recently. With players much more fitter and athletic now compared to when the Premier League first formed in 1992, adding to the fact that the game is essentially a non-contact sport now, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for officials to correctly get the big decisions right.

This season specifically, it seems the main talking points that Gary Lineker et al discuss on Match of the Day is what the referee got right and/or wrong, rather than the quality of the game itself.

It’s so blatantly obvious that referees need help. Goal-line technology has been a great addition to the game, arguably it came later that it should have, but refs are crying out for some sort of referral system to aid them. You can almost see the fear in their eyes after every decision they make. Referees are scared they might be next to have their performance scrutinised after 6 different TV angles show the striker received a flick of his hair which caused him to go down.

Another story has been running regarding West Ham striker Carlton Cole. On Friday he received a £20,000 FA charge for comments he made on Twitter. Incredibly, The FA has collected over £350,000 for Twitter offences since 2011. But this begs the question, what has that money been used for?

Like many people, I feel that the FA is so out of touch with the game now. Fining people for tweeting is not going to help the game in any way, shape or form. It is not going to solve the underlying defects in the game at grass-roots level. It is not going to be put towards plans to allow referees access to a referral system.

These are just two of the many issues that are wrong with the game in this country, yet The FA are more than happy to just sit back and fine people for making comments on social media. The governing body has to be doing more in my opinion.

In recent years there’s been a huge increase in the number of fans who have turned their backs on the Premier League to go and watch non-league football. The average Joe is becoming more and more disillusioned with football at the top level.

Football and the Premier League is now a multi-billion pound industry; £5.136 billion has been paid for Premier League TV rights for three seasons, meaning even more money will come into the game at the top level. Will this see ticket prices fall? Early indications suggest not, which quite frankly is disgraceful.

When you start losing the fans, something’s wrong. But this doesn’t seem to bother the Premier League or The FA. Going to the football was once a hobby, now it’s a financial burden for the masses. Attendances for England international games have fallen dramatically in the last few years. Who in their right mind would pay £65 to watch us thump San Marino at Wembley?

Quite simply, both the FA and the Premier League need to step up. So many issues need to be addressed, and with more money coming into the game than ever before, there really are no excuses. As the late, great Bill Shankly once said “Football is a simple game”…