Young referees make a stand over abuse

Enough is enough. That’s the message from young referees who made a stand at the weekend over the levels of abuse they are receiving from spectators and coaches.

By Keith Hamblin
Monday, 8th November 2021, 11:15 am
Referees taking a stand against abuse.
Referees taking a stand against abuse.

On Sunday, 21 young referees at all the Northumberland Football League central venues were withdrawn from their fixtures, forcing coaches and parents to referee matches themselves and get a taste of what it’s like to officiate.

The action, which was supported by Northumberland FA and Northumberland Football Leagues was as a direct result of the current levels of unacceptable abuse directed at match officials since the start of the season.

Northumberland FA Executive Officer, Andrew Rose-Cook, said: “We are all passionate about football – but passion cannot be used as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour. Our referees are committed to helping our players and teams have a positive and enjoyable match day experience. Abusing them is simply not acceptable. We cannot and will not allow this to continue. This weekend is the first step in a season long campaign to encourage everyone in grassroots football to be ‘100% positive.’”

Northumberland Football Leagues’ General Manager, Ian Coates, added: "I would urge every one of our parents and coaches to take a look at their own behaviour. Please support and encourage our referees – without them there would be no football. Let’s all move forward together in a positive manner.”

Steve Swinyard, NFA Board member and Safeguarding Champion, said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring the grassroots game is enjoyable, safe and fun for everyone. We’re at a stage now where unfortunately, strong action needs to be taken to make the point that this type of behaviour is unacceptable."