By Joe Brewin

Arsène Wenger believes refereeing should start with the players themselves - if only to honour their “social contracts” to their team-mates.

Discipline has been under the microscope in recent seasons with video technology and rule changes just two areas of debate within the game.

Referees are also under scrutiny but Wenger says they can be helped by the players they officiate every week.

“They of course have a big responsibility because first of all they have what you would call a social contract with their team-mates, with the Club, with the fans,” he told the Official Arsenal Magazine.

“If you are playing a team sport you have a responsibility not to handicap the people who are in the same boat as you. That concerns the whole club, so when you don't respect this contract you let people down.

“Diving, for example. A guy wants to win and is tempted to use all of the tricks to help him. You cannot reproach him on the other side that they go as far as they can to help their team to win.

“That is why I believe it is important they know how far they can go, and if they go too far they are punished. Sometimes it is not [done] with a selfish attitude but with a desire to win and help their team to win.”

But how to eradicate such aspects of the game? Wenger admits it is a deep-rooted problem - and one English football must strive to avoid.

“The best way is to educate players when they are young [so they] know how far they can go,” he said. “When you want to change the attitude of a player who is 25 it is much more difficult. The big part is between 10 and 20.

“As well I believe a big part is played by the culture of a country. For example, I came from France where when somebody made a bad tackle, everybody surrounded the referee to [pressure him to] give him a yellow card.

“When I came to England and somebody did that it was, 'what is he doing?' I loved that and thought it was fantastic. But now we have brought it here slowly, you see more people surrounding the referee.”

Read the full interview with the boss in the latest edition of the Official Arsenal Magazine. Click here to subscribe or call 0845 301 7626

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
2 May 2012