Most top managers in Europe want more technology, a mid season break and the January transfer window scrapped (From Hampshire Chronicle)
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Most top managers in Europe want more technology, a mid season break and the January transfer window scrapped
8:06am Friday 6th June 2014 in Sport
The majority of managers in Europe are in favour of more technology, a mid-season break, sporting directors and scrapping the January transfer window, according to a survey carried out by the League Managers Association.
The LMA's Castrol European Manager & Coaches Survey was pitched to leading football associations across Europe and answered by 142 coaches from 20 different countries including the UK, Spain, Italy, Holland and Germany.
Results show 93 per cent of managers support more technology to help referees, 70 per cent agree with mid-season breaks, 64 per cent are in favour of sporting directors and 62 per cent believe the current transfer window dates are not the most suitable.
LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson said: "This isn't one manager being quoted in a newspaper which is relatively easy to deal with.
"This is a collective. Anyone who ignores it should not be in a position of authority.
"If I was in a position of governance I would be saying, 'I need to understand this'.
"The publication of the report and the publicity it will gain will hopefully influence people to understand there is a need for change."
The unanimous vote in favour of more technology being brought into the game comes just as goal-line assistance is to be used for the first time at a World Cup.
According to the survey, managers want authorities to go further however, with 64 per cent in favour of a decision referral system, which is already used in cricket, tennis and rugby.
Former Manchester United coach and Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen was one of those to vote in favour.
"I believe you should have a panel of three extra officials who look at video footage so it's always a majority decision of two against one or three against none," Meulensteen said.
"The onus would be on the referee to refer decisions and the extra officials then transfer their decision back to the referee on the pitch.
"Nowadays we're watching games 3,000 miles away and within 20 seconds or less we see a replay and can make a distinctive decision.
"Nearly every game can be broken down into a maximum of five key moments that decide the outcome - technology offers us the chance to get more of those moments right."
Despite the wide support for technology, 'respect' was regarded as the most important issue to improve - ahead of diving, goal-line technology and the video referral system.
A slight majority of 51 per cent are in favour of conversations between players and referees being aired publicly as happens in rugby.
The 70 per cent support of a mid-season break is particularly pertinent in a World Cup year, with UEFA research showing players from leagues without a break are more likely to sustain injury in the second half of the season.
The top divisions in Spain, Germany, France and Italy all enjoy an interval in the middle of their campaigns while England and Portugal do not.
"It's probably one of the most unanimous results," said Wilkinson.
"These are people who have experience of mid-season breaks either as players or coaches.
"Is it because they fancy a holiday? No, it's because they know a mid-season break is beneficial for footballers, for the quality of football delivered and also it enables international teams to perform better at major tournaments."
Wilkinson also believes the support for sporting directors is in part a reflection of the survey's managers from Europe, where the role is more readily deployed.
Meulensteen believes the sporting director will, however, become a regular feature of English clubs in the future.
"It's a very common scenario in other countries," the Dutchman said.
"England are getting used to it and I think in 10 years time we will see many more technical directors in the game here, especially with the rise of foreign owners.
"Before clubs were predominantly owned by English people so that was the English culture, where the manager is responsible for everything."
Of the 62 per cent that believe the current transfer window dates are unsuitable, 46 per cent would prefer one window in July while 52 per cent would like to see no window at all.
Other notable results show 82 per cent want more regulation of agents, 84 per cent believe it takes more than a year to instil a culture at a club and 58 per cent class their relationship with the game as "obsessive".
Steve Sedgwick, Europe and Africa Marketing Communications Manager at Castrol said: "The parallels between business and football management have long been made, but what the results of this survey underline is the importance of recruiting the best talent and the need to embrace new technology - two key areas that we as a business can readily identify with."
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