Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom breaks his silence on that meeting with refereeing chief
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Kevin Friend, who oversees officials in the English Football League, travelled to United’s training complex ahead of their draw with Blackpool on Saturday to brief the 44-year-old on how those under his command are required to operate this season.
After complaining opponents are not being punished for deliberately slowing down games, and also expressing incredulity at what he perceives as inconsistencies surrounding “contact” fouls, Heckingbottom told The Star his discussions with Friend were “very worthwhile.”
“It was good, really good in fact, to be able to speak with Kevin,” Heckingbottom said. “A lot of it was for me and being able to manage some of my frustrations on the sideline. He was good, (helping with our) understanding of why certain calls are made. I thought the whole thing was really constructive and I appreciated it. It was really useful for me.”
Speaking at a media conference last week, Heckingbottom revealed he had commissioned a report from United’s analysis department which detailed how many minutes were being lost during games; going on to argue that visitors to Bramall Lane are effectively ruining “the spectacle” for paying supporters.
“I felt it was important to do, to have a chat about it, and the whole thing was really constructive,” added Heckingbottom, referring to his conversation with Friend. “I can’t speak for Kevin but, from my perspective, I was really glad we did it.”