So last week, we saw Sky Sports do a week based on support of referees, numerous ex and current footballers were given the chance to take up the whistle at Cheshire FA, and see what it’s really like to be a referee. Also, the first weekend of March (4th/5th) was the weekend of the Referee Strike Campaign, ran by referee Ryan Hampson. This was in aid of getting more support for grassroots referees from the County FA’s, The FA and the International Football association Board.
In the premier league, we regularly see mass numbers of players surrounding referees –whether it is the right decision or not. Is this acceptable? We never see it in rugby; we never see it in tennis, hockey or cricket. So why football? I put it down to the fact, majority of the players don’t know the official laws of the game.
The amount of cards for dissent and Offensive, abusive and insulting language (OFFINABUS) is increasing by the year, and surprisingly so is the amount of referee assaults at grassroots. The amount of referees is getting shorter and shorter, because of the abuse that is given. 90% of this abuse is not needed. Okay, we do come across the odd referee who might not be upto standard, or who makes more than the average amount of mistakes each game, and we can also respect that players get frustrated, but why does this not happen in rugby? It is more or less the same.
Dissent is something we see all through the leagues, whether it is Wayne Rooney in the premier league, or someone’s parents on a Saturday morning at the local park. It is becoming increasingly popular lower down the grassroots level. I have come to a conclusion that this is because these players see their role models in the premier league doing it, so why cant they?
Action needs to be taken fast in order to reduce this, otherwise the shortage of referees will be critical.