Fury after young soccer referee cops ‘gobful’ of abuse

FEARING an exodus of referees, a senior soccer official has warned clubs if they don't stop players, coaches and supporters abusing match officials, the game will suffer.

Football Far North Coast general manger Steve Mackney sent all member clubs a strongly-worded email highlighting his concerns about referees being verbally abused by players and supporters.

Mackney said he was furious about the behaviour of some players and fans.

"As I write this, information received that a young assistant referee had to endure a 'gobful' of abuse last night from a player in a lower league game, leaves me disappointed and angry," he said.

"No wonder we are losing match officials every year as individuals walk away from the game because they do not want to be criticised and yelled at so blatantly."

Mackney said his message was for players to play, coaches to coach, supporters to cheer on their team and let FFNC match officials officiate.

"Match officials exist in a range of ages and experience and just as players (and coaches) have different abilities, so too do our match officials."

There is a process to give feedback and ask questions, but game day is not the time or place."

"We must promote more respect to every match official and believe that they are each trying to do their very best."

Mackney urged clubs to share his email far and wide across the soccer community.

"There is little purpose in me sending this information to clubs unless it is shared far and wide, so I urge every club to post to social networks and generally support a sharing and endorsement of key messages to your members and supporters," he said.

"Remember, we are here for the game and respecting the game is best displayed when we respect each other."

Mackney's email also included a reminder for behaviour which could lead to someone receiving a warning, caution, yellow or red card.

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