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PFA chief insists refs are 'no-go'

Players' chief Gordon Taylor believes referees have to become a 'no-go area' in order for the game to clean up its act.

On-field behaviour has come under scrutiny in the last week with Chelsea defender Ashley Cole's show of petulance towards Mike Riley followed by Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano's sending-off for dissent to Steve Bennett on Sunday.

The incidents stood out more because the Football Association has only just launched its 'Respect' campaign aimed at improving conduct towards officials.

Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, believes the time has now come for an exclusion zone to be placed around officials.

"In the last week there has been a big campaign against dissent and respect for referees and I have made it clear referees should be a no-go area," said Taylor.

"As a general rule we should treat referees as no-go areas and learn from other sports.

"It is time managers and players did accept a responsibility because what happens at the top level happens lower down.

"It is the bad points that get highlighted and the game has to be very much aware and do all it can to eradicate it."

Taylor said the FA had to do more as part of an orchestrated campaign to underline to clubs that attitudes had to change.

"We have regular meetings with referees and the FA and when there are patterns developing like this then we need to take action," he said.

"It can be done with sanctions and an educational process.

"There has been a big campaign last week and in spite of that the message has not got through so it has to come out louder and clearer."

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