TACKLING COMPLAINTS: FIFA's Marco van Basten Peter Dejong

FIFA tries to stop players complaining to referees

FOOTBALL: Former Dutch striker Marco van Basten says FIFA is discussing whether to follow rugby's lead and allow only captains to talk to referees.

Van Basten (pictured) is the world football governing body's chief technical development officer and said there had been talks about how to improve player behaviour and respect for officials.

"There are a lot of players now who are complaining during a game," the former Ajax and AC Milan forward told the BBC.

"I am sure the behaviour of the players can be better. We are thinking about putting it back in the right direction."

FIFA introuced a trial of video referees at this month's Club World Cup - where the match official could watch a pitch-side replay of key incidents on a small monitor.

Van Basten said it was important to help referees as much as possible with video referees and other rule changes.

"This is what we have to do to help the referees," he said.

"We try to make a good product - dynamic, exciting - but in the end also honest.

"There's a lot of emotion in the game and that's what's good, but we have to control it also."

Asked about comparisons with rugby, van Basten replied: "I think we can learn from every sport and they can learn from us but we have to confront the problem."

In rugby, only the captain is allowed to speak directly to the referee. In return, the referee is asked to communicate directly with the captain only.

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