Many benchmarks exist that highlight the great work that is going on across the county and its grassroots game with our match officials, for example:
- Female referee recruitment and participation is at an all-time high
- 97% coverage of Saturday adult (90% national target)
- Continuous referee numbers despite a nationwide reduction
- Ongoing international recognition of our development referees
- Regular In-service training available to all match officials
- Fully booked new referee training courses
As a result of this, North Riding FA is determined to protect the operational environment of its match officials and is introducing a ‘Get Tough’ policy on anyone who abuses, offends, insults or intimidates a referee.
A series of initiatives have been put in place to support our referees, these include:
- Tough sanctions against all offenders
- The introduction of a 24hr referee hotline
- Mentors being assigned to all new referees
- Unannounced visits to games by North Riding FA observers
- Monday morning referee clinics to help support officials
- Education programme for clubs
- Regular training/support with 4 local Referee Association groups
Sanctions for offenders include ten year bans from the game for those found guilty of assaulting a match official, and six month bans with £150 fines for those guilty of being abusive or threatening to referees. A referee hotline has been set up for North Riding match officials to help support those reporting any incidents of such behaviour.
NRCFA Chairman Len Scott says, “Our recent referee development programme has been very successful and we are determined to protect this. While we hear of problems nationally, we’re proud to see North Riding FA buck this trend and we will not stand for anyone misbehaving towards our match officials.”
Referee Development Officer, Ross Joyce says, “There have been recent stories nationally of the problems faced by match officials. Refereeing 22 players on a field can be a lonely position to be in and as a result North Riding has decided to offer our match officials increased support. We are seeing great progress in the county’s referees and we are determined to do everything we can to see that continue.”
North Riding County FA is not immune from problems. There has been a slight increase in reports of poor behaviour towards match officials in the past year, something North Riding FA is determined to reduce.
John Campbell, Chairman of North Riding’s Referee Committee says, “The County FA expects to make over 300 unannounced visits to grassroots games in the next year. Observations will be made on behaviour towards referees as we strive to set a standard for all players, club officials and spectators to follow. We do not want to see trends being reported elsewhere develop here.”
North Riding County Football Association is responsible for the governance of all grassroots football affiliated to the FA within an area stretching from Middlesbrough to Scarborough and down to and including York.
North Riding FA will also hold our referees to account. As the local football association we expect our match officials to carry out their duties correctly. We will be keeping an eye on reports being submitted on time as well as their performances and conduct being of an acceptable standard.