THE MANAGER of the FA’s Respect programme is the latest name to support the Examiner’s Save The Ref campaign.
Dermot Collins, who runs the FA’s national project aimed at addressing unacceptable behaviour in the sport, said: “We need all the help we can get!
“The figures speak for themselves. We lose as many referees as we recruit. It is essential for the future of the sport that the issue is tackled now.”
The number of qualified referees taking charge of senior matches in Huddersfield reached an all-time low last season, with only 14 to 19 available for Saturday fixtures and six on Sundays. The Examiner launched its Save The Ref campaign last August to help put an end to the town’s crisis and entice more people to become a referee.
At a national level, 7,000 referees on average quit every year because of the abuse they receive from players and from the sidelines and at the start of the 2008-2009 season, the FA launched the Respect programme – their own initiative to try an improve behaviour towards match officials.
“People need to value the referee. Without them the game is compromised,” said Dermot. “A range of measures need to be implemented, for instance, clubs and their captains need to make sure a referee is looked after at a game.
“The officials should be able to enjoy themselves. They should be made feel welcome; be offered a drink after a match, be able to join in with any banter and be part of the hospitality.
“If clubs don’t offer these things then they will struggle to attract referees.
“Every county FA now has a referee development officer. These people, and this infrastructure, is of paramount importance to support potential new referees and to promote the Respect campaign.”
To view the FA’s latest Respect programme news and to watch the latest promotional video starring actor Ray Winstone, visit: www.thefa.com/Leagues/Respect.