A new Respect initiative for young referees was launched at the North Riding FA Junior Cup Finals Day yesterday (Sunday 28 April).
Put into action for the very first time, referees under the age of 18 all wore yellow armbands to signify their age and make players and spectators aware of the fact that they are still subject to the children’s safeguarding legislation.
U18 referees who weren’t officiating at yesterday’s cup finals day will receive their armbands ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Speaking in March when the new scheme was officially announced, Ross Joyce, North Riding FA Referee Development Manager, said: “Nearly 45% of our current registered referees in North Riding are under the age of 18. It is vitally important that they are supported and allowed to do their job.
"We have to understand that referees will make mistakes just like the young players they are refereeing – this is all part of their development and I would ask that all managers, coaches, parents and spectators respect this. If anyone has an issue with a young referee, they should contact the County FA direct and not take issue with the referee directly.
“The idea of the yellow armbands is to help identify those referees who are under the age of 18 and ensure they are supported, as well as making managers, coaches, parents and spectators think twice about making abusive or insulting comments to the young referees. Essentially, the armbands are to remind adults that the referee is still a child, learning to be the best official they can be.
“We currently have a clear Referee Development Support Policy in place alongside our 24-hour support hotline, and we feel the introduction of the U18 Referee Armband for next season is further evidence that we take the wellbeing of our young referees extremely seriously.”
Steven Wade, North Riding FA Chief Executive Officer, added: “North Riding FA is fully committed to The FA’s Respect programme and the ‘We Only Do Positive’ key message. We have implemented the FA Respect initiatives at all levels of the game locally for many years and are fully supportive of our match officials and this new referee armband initiative for officials under the age of 18. It is important that Respect is embedded across all levels of football and that an innovative approach is taken to proactively educate the importance of Respect across our game.”
To find out more about Respect, please CLICK HERE