Wednesday, 23 May 2012


My VT is on the sports genre but based on a more serious subject, which is sunday league referees receiving abusive and insulting remarks from players and the fans. I have found several articles that ensure this is a huge matter in the amateur football leagues.

In one case, some players were banned from the league they were playing in, and when the season came to an end, the officials decided to ban the players from this league due to their aggression and abuse to be that severe, referees didn't feel safe refereeing the games whilst they were playing. As the new season came along, the officials decided to go back on their decision and give these players one last chance, which shocked the referees as they no longer felt safe.  

In another case one player for a Sunday league team got sent off, he was that angered at being sent off, he drove his car onto the pitch and tried running over the referee after threatening to shoot the referee, this just proves how out of hand the abuse is getting and its more than understandable why referees feel uncomfortable and unsafe when refereeing these games. 

Referees referee roughly 2/3 games per week, on Saturdays and Sundays but receive only around £20/30 per game, which is not enough to make a living on, but mainly do it as a hobby and for love of the sport. Referees account differently when receiving abuse from players/fans on how offensive they see it. The normal sanctions for fines and removing players from pitches is a warning, yellow card which is £10 fine, then a straight red card which is £30 fine or a second yellow which makes it into a red card.

There is not a simple way to cut this out of games, but widening the knowledge to general public and higher officials can help the matter. Another way is for referees to unite and refuse to referee until some higher sanctions are taken, for example a league in Oldham took this approach as 15 referees refused to referee as they feared for their safety.

FA officials should take more action against referees receiving abuse as the referees are in difficult positions as no matter what decisions they make, 50% are going to agree with them and 50% aren't. The player and fans should accept the referees decision as they the players are paying the referee to do his job and by giving them abuse, this is effecting their work, therefore can't do their best job.

[1] Rob Dawson. (2011). Oldham Sunday referees go on strike after banned players are reinstated. Available: Last accessed 15/05/12.

[2] Ollie Irish. (2010). Sunday League Footballer Jailed For Driving Car At Referee. Available: Last accessed 18/05/12.

[3] Brian Simpson. (2011). Amateur referees face increasing abuse. Available: Last accessed 18/05/12.

[4] Shropshire Star. (2012). Red card warning over Shropshire referee abuse. Available: Last accessed 18/05/12.

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