CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook believes the Football Association must do more to encourage players at every level to turn their hand to refereeing when they stop playing.

Cook’s comments came in the wake of the club’s National League South game against Dartford that was – in the Chippenham boss’ opinion – marred by officiating errors.

Three of the visitors’ five goals may well have been chalked off at the highest level had VAR intervened – however, with no such luxuries in the sixth tier of English football, human error weighs too heavily on officials that have not played the game themselves, according to Cook.

The former Gloucester City boss was keen to stress he does not have an anti-referee agenda to fulfil.

Instead, Cook simply wants the football association to help improve the standard of refereeing by making sure officials have the necessary tools to understand the nuances of the game.

He said: “We made sure no one was swearing at them or surrounding the referee on Saturday, but Marc McGregor (assistant manager) got sent off for saying: ‘ref, you should be wearing a white shirt’.

“To send him off for that is a bit tame in my eyes anyway. But I also think a lot of the referees that come through the system have not played the game either.

“And that doesn’t half help, even if they just play local football on a Saturday – it gives you a better understanding of how football matches play out.

“A lot of referees that we speak to, they tell me they’ve never played the game of football, and I just don’t think that’s right.”

As well as lack of playing experience for referees, Cook says the lack of accountability frustrates not only him but managers up and down the country.

The Chippenham boss explained that while everyone makes mistakes, the lack of openness from officials post-match causes him no end of frustration.

Cook said that if referees were more willing to discuss potential mistakes or explain the reason certain decisions were made, the mutual respect between managers and officials would greatly increase.

He said: “We always get called in for a chat at 2pm before a game, and that chat always consists of referees saying they’ll be fair and open.

“They say if we have any problems then we can question them, and we’ll have a chat about it if we give them 20 minutes after the game.

“But it never works out that way because as soon as you question them, they shut down. What the referees are saying before the game never ever gets implemented, and that’s so frustrating.”