THE Save the Ref campaign has received a severe setback.
It surrounds the staging of training courses for FA-registered referees in the Huddersfield area.
Huddersfield FA president Frank Beaumont, who has taken up the matter with the regional and national bodies, explained:
“Just when, after a lot of hard work, we were seeing the benefits of the Save the Ref campaign out on the fields of Huddersfield, the District FA have received a bombshell,” he said.
“Our four licensed Referee Instructors have informed the FA secretary to accept their joint resignation with immediate effect.
“This has been brought about by the introduction from the FA of an 18-page document about the ‘FA Licensed Referee Tutor Pathway’, which sets out in great detail the measures that all trainee tutors will undertake in future in a six-step process.
“Huddersfield’s four tutors, Neil Simpson, Frank Beverley, Stuart Martin and Ronnie Cushing have collectively upwards of 80 years experience in running referee training courses in this area which, over the past 15 years, have resulted in a 98% pass rate for those taking part.
“Sadly, when our four top-class instructors, with all their years of experience and knowledge, inquired at what level they were to be graded in the new regime, they were astounded to find they were to be re-graded as Level 1 tutors – the bottom grade.”
The quartet have stressed to Mr Beaumont that the new system is not one they wish to be involved in and that’s why, reluctantly, they have had to resign.
“This could not have come at a worse time for our Save the Ref campaign,” added Mr Beaumont.
“With a little more thought and sensitivity from the FA, regarding the service of existing instructors along with their wealth of experience, we need not have been plunged into this position.
“What the future holds now is anybody’s guess, but on behalf of the FA Council we give our sincere thanks to all four instructors for their dedication, hard work and achievements over the years – with the hope that it is not lost for ever.”