Warning over abuse of referees

FOOTBALL chiefs have fired a warning to clubs about the increasing number of referees suffering verbal and even physical abuse.

According to the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA, the problem is leading to more officials quitting the game and is not just confined to the field of play, with trouble sometimes spilling over into public areas long after the game has finished.

As a first shot, a warning letter has been circulated to clubs asking players and spectators to improve their behaviour.

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The move follows a recent joint meeting of representatives of the County Football Association and Open Age leagues called to discuss the issue.

Roger Reade, general secretary of the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA, said: “It was unanimously agreed by all at the meeting that this situation has to stop.

“It was also well noted that this is not a situation which relates to the majority of participants, rather it is a small minority. However, that minority have a significant impact and action is required.

“A similar concern was raised over offensive and insulting language that is used and heard, even in public parks.”

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All are being asked not to abuse the referee, even if they think he has got a decision wrong, and not to support colleagues who do.

Clubs should not tolerate poor behaviour from spectators and are reminded that it is their responsibility to control participants.

They are also being asked to curb their language.

Mr Reade added: “Referees will also receive a letter reminding them of their responsibilities. By working together we aim to improve the standards and, above all, enjoyment of the game in our local leagues.”

He added that referees could be assured that the County FA would support all who had acted in accordance with their duties within the Laws of the Game.


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