I am sure everyone has missed playing, watching or being involved in grassroots football over the last month; now imagine what it would be like to not be able to do so because of a lack of referees? Or worse still that you are a referee who is apprehensive about coming back at all?
This scenario is not as far fetched as it would seem; before lockdown we noticed a marked increase in the pressure, intimidation and verbal abuse endured by our referees. This was matched by a similar scenario in the MKDDL league where already there has been more complaints than the whole of last season with coaches, players and supporters banned. Elsewhere this worrying picture is replicated, but cannot continue.
As a club we want to support all referees and ensure they are treated in a way that we would expect any person in the wider community to be. We have around thirty associated with the club and the vast majority of these are current players, go to school locally and have family, relatives or friends who will be watching them on a Saturday morning. Every other club our teams play against will have referees allocated in similar circumstances.
We are currently working with our referees, leagues, the FA and refereeing bodies to look at ways in which to engage all of our members, from the youngest player to the oldest supporter, in the common theme of respecting the referee; more details of what we plan to do will follow over the remainder of the season.
For now we look forward to your ongoing support in achieving this simple aim; Respect the Referee