Referee's red-card warning

TOP Suffolk referee Mick Thorpe has handed a red card warning to Ipswich Town ahead of the new season.Thorpe, a self-confessed Blues fan which means he cannot officiate their games, has cautioned players that referees are determined to stamp out the over-the-top jostling that goes on at corners and free kicks into the area.

By Derek Davis

TOP Suffolk referee Mick Thorpe has handed a red card warning to Ipswich Town ahead of the new season.

Thorpe, a self-confessed Blues fan which means he cannot officiate their games, has cautioned players that referees are determined to stamp out the over-the-top jostling that goes on at corners and free kicks into the area.

The men in black are prepared to award a penalty against defenders who go too far, while attackers will concede a free kick and the goal threat they have earned.


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Thorpe insists that referees are not going to go card crazy at the beginning of the season but will be especially vigilant at set pieces.

Thorpe said: “There are no changes to the laws this year and no particular clampdown but one problem we have is jostling in the area waiting for set plays.

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“We will warn players who are fighting over the same blade of grass to cut it out and will take action where necessary. When the ball is dead we have a number of options, which we can use.

“When the ball is live and it is continuing then we can award a penalty or a free kick in the area to the defensive team.

“Awarding a penalty or free kick the other way will send a clear message to players that we are determined to stamp it out.”

The Blues had one of the worst disciplinary records in the league last year.

Manager Jim Magilton, along with all other league managers, has been made aware of what is expected from them and their players this year after attending a special meeting during the summer.

Referees will continue to crack down on the use of the elbow and two-footed tackles, especially where the offender leaves the ground.

Thorpe said: “We get the vast majority of those decisions right and have the backing of the players and managers who want to see it stopped. There can be a case where a player will win the ball with a two-footed tackle but it can still be dangerous.”

As yet Thorpe, who takes charge of Grimsby v Notts County on the opening day of the season tomorrow, has not been asked to talk to the Blues players and pass on any advice but would be willing to help out if asked.

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