A new society on campus has resolved to address the perennial problem of college football matches being played without officials. Referee Society, launching this term, aims to ‘improve the quality and quantity of referees and to hopefully ensure that the attitude towards those concerned improves both on and off the pitch.’
Created by a group of college and university football players, Referee Soc aims to end once and for all the trend of autumn and spring term inter-mural matches being contested without an official, which is always to the detriment of both players and spectators.
As a result, the group hope to see a decline in instances of dissent and abuse towards referees, who are often volunteers and drafted in at short notice. They hope to appeal to the entire student body, whether they have previous experience of the college scene or not.
The group consists of Andy Case (President), George Dyke (Treasurer), Adam Leadbeater (Secretary) and Jay Conway (Press and Publicity Officer), although new members are very welcome to join.
Referee Soc have not ruled out supplying officials to other college sports in the future, although the focus at present is on ensuring every football match, whether it be a first, second, or third team fixture, has someone in charge.
College football enjoyed a renaissance during the summer term with a well-attended College Cup tournament on the Astroturf, although isolated incidents of dissent towards the officials remained. However, it is the ‘bread and butter’ grass leagues which will provide the first challenge for the new society.
Referees in the professional game have found their performances under greater scrutiny than ever before since the start of the season. The Respect Campaign, led by the Football Association, has partly succeeded in reducing instances of verbal abuse toward top level referees, although some high-profile incidents have slowed progress.
On Saturday, Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, apologised to referee Alan Wiley for comments criticising his fitness levels in the aftermath of last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford. Scientific studies in midweek revealed that Wiley, the second oldest Barclays Premier League official at 49, covered 11,039 metres, further than all but four United players.
Referee Society will be appearing with further details on how to get involved at YUSU Fair on Saturday 17th October, between 10am and 4pm. In the meantime, they can be contacted at [email protected] or through their Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=304347345326&ref=nf.