Northumberland FA set out a plan to reduce referee abuse

Written by on 10th December 2021

Image Credit – Patrick Laws

A new scheme aims to protect football referees as it is revealed one in four officials drop out each year due to abuse. 

The Northumberland Football Association have set out a new plan which will see new measures put in place to stop falling referee numbers due to verbal abuse.

A 15 point-plan is being rolled out into junior football leagues with the hope that adult leagues will come onboard in the future.

The plan includes measures such as putting matches behind closed doors due to abuse with the hope that spectators will start to self-police the matter.

A programme for existing referees is being put into place which includes CPD opportunities, giving them new skills and building confidence.

Andrew Rose-Cook, Northumberland FA’s Executive Officer, said: “Our new 100% positive campaign has been widely welcomed by our grassroots community. 

“The vast majority of our players, coaches and spectators already display supportive behaviour and we want to reward their efforts, as well as reaching out to the small minority of people who continue to make negative comments.”

The system will come into force as there is a 25% drop off in refereeing numbers each season, as well as on average one case of referee abuse every day.

NFA referee Patrick Laws spoke on the topic saying: “It is pretty much normal in society for the referee to receive abuse and there is not much you can do to change that, people just need to remember that we are human too.

“Clubs need to realise that some of their games will be played without officials if it doesn’t stop.”

Regular refereeing courses that are put on by Northumberland FA are now usually sold out.

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