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STATEMENT: Poor conduct towards Referees condemned by North Riding FA

Following a spike in reported incidents of poor conduct towards match officials, North Riding FA has condemned the behaviour and called upon players, managers, coaches and spectators in the local area to remain respectful to referees on matchday, in line with The FA’s Respect programme.

In recent weeks, several incidents of referees being subjected to verbal and physical abuse have been reported to North Riding FA. This behaviour is strictly condemned by the County FA and is being tackled at a local and national level through The FA’s ongoing Respect campaign, which gives those involved in the game the guidance and support needed to help create a safe and inclusive game for participants at every level.

Steven Wade, North Riding FA Chief Executive, said: “As a County FA we take the wellbeing of our match officials extremely seriously, which is why this spike in reports of abuse is of huge concern to us and an issue we are keen to tackle head-on.

“Referees perform a vital role on the football field and without them, football would cease to exist. As with all participants of the grassroots game, they deserve respect and the right to fulfil their role in a safe, inclusive and supportive environment.

“Many of our referees are under the age of 18, which places even greater emphasis on the need to safeguard and protect them on matchday and beyond. Working alongside The FA, we will ensure that the strongest possible action is taken against the perpetrators. This includes issuing a minimum five-year ban for anyone found guilty of assaulting a grassroots referee.”

Ross Joyce, North Riding FA Referee Development Manager, added: “We’re lucky to have an outstanding workforce of grassroots referees in our county, so it’s vital we encourage, support and celebrate their development. Any form of abuse to our match officials, whether it’s verbal or physical, is strictly condemned and will not be tolerated.

“Whilst there is clearly a need to address this poor behaviour, I must emphasise that the majority of our referees find officiating matches a wholly positive experience – and I’d encourage anyone interested in becoming a match official to visit our website to learn more about getting involved.”

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