HUDDERSFIELD football’s top officials are celebrating the fact that 15 new referees are turning out this season.

Training courses at Newsome High have resulted in the increase, which follows on from our highly-encouraging Save the Ref campaign last season.

The campaign – backed by the Huddersfield and District Football Association and the Referees Association – is to continue in 2009-10.

And District FA president Frank Beaumont outlined some of the initiatives which are being put in place.

“With the 2009-10 season now well into its stride, the local FA have been reviewing what actions they can take to continue last season’s campaign, which was geared to improving the number of games staffed by a qualified official referee,” he explained.

“Were last season’s efforts by so many people a success? The answer is yes – not a resounding ‘yes’ but one which has inspired us through our Referee Committee to continue with the Save the Ref campaign.

“Last season’s statistics provided very pleasant reading for local leagues.

“A total of 55% of all Saturday matches were manned by an official referee compared with only 42% the previous season.

“With Sunday matches it was even better, with a dramatic rise from 45%to an impressive 85%.

“Those figures made all the hard work well worth the effort.”

Training supremo Neil Simpson has run referees courses at Newsome to encourage new recruits and the FA are now keen to make sure the national ‘Respect’ programme is practised by all clubs in this area.

With that in mind, the Referees Committee are to issue all officials with a card to fill in for every match. On it they can rate the various elements of their experience, such as pitch and dressing room conditions, general treatment, rule application and other aspects of matchday.

Beaumont explained: “The scheme is to be undertaken by David Bolger, a past president of the Referees Association and currently secretary of Grange Moor FC.

“The scheme will be introduced in mid-November and run for about three months.

“After that period, the results will be analysed to see what information, helpful or otherwise, it provides to further the Respect programme.”

For information, a copy of the cards issued to referees will be made available to clubs when the various leagues hold their monthly meetings.

One other initiative has come from the Respect programme. Meetings are to be held between all the local leagues and representatives of the Referees Association to establish further ways to encourage more people to take up the whistle.

“A repeat of the results obtained last season would make all our efforts well worthwhile,” added Beaumont.

Want to be a referee? Contact Rodney Smith on 01484 307266.