Brian Barwick is not always known for smart talking but this is just supreme common sense. The FA are going to pilot a scheme at grass roots level in which only the captain of a side can talk to the referee… just like in Rugby Union. Hallelujah. RU has so many intelligent rules that aid discipline and leave players in no doubt as to the correct course of action and the consequences for not taking that course. And communicating with the ref is one of the best.
Witness the Rugby World Cup. As much fire and passion (in most games anyway but that’s another story) yet any decision that is questioned is not done so by 15 men clustering round the ref and shouting. It is done by the captain, on his own and is hence sorted out very quickly and respectfully. Only once have I seen another player question a reffing decision. A Georgian prop was about to make a noise but the ref, perhaps half his size, merely put a finger to his lips and shook his head. Problem solved.
I pray this pilot works. One of the central blights of football the world over is the normally unfounded screeching injustice of players when they believe a decision has gone against them. Ally this to the sin bin and wave good-bye to foul-mouthed abuse from Old Trafford to Hackney Marshes. Say hello to better referees too. This has no downside, only goodness.