I have been disappointed to hear further allegations of poor behaviour directed towards some of our match officials during last weekend’s football.
Despite repeated calls from North Riding FA for participants and spectators to be mindful of their behaviour, we are continuing to receive numerous reports on a weekly basis of abuse, intimidation, and threatening behaviour towards match officials. This is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to address these matters head on.
I would like to reinforce the message that no one has the right to shout at, or to approach a referee, to ask questions about decisions, either during or after a match. If we receive reports of such behaviour, then these will be dealt with through our disciplinary channels.
I urge all clubs to reinforce the following to your players, team officials and spectators:
1. Match officials should not be approached on the field of play at the final whistle to question decisions that have been made during a game.
2. Match officials should not be approached in their changing room at half-time / full-time to question decisions that have been made during a game.
3. Match officials should not be approached in clubhouses, car parks etc. after games to question decisions that have been made during a game.
We hope that clubs across the county will be proactive in supporting us to tackle this unacceptable side of the game. I would encourage pre-match briefings to take place that reinforce the need for appropriate behaviour from players, team officials and spectators. Clubs should also use The FA Respect Codes of Conduct to outline the standard of behaviour expected from individuals connected to their clubs.
The appointment of a qualified match official improves the experience for those involved in the game. We must all work together to protect our match officials who take up the whistle to ensure that they are not driven away from the game because of improper and abusive behaviour from a minority of people.
Chief Executive, North Riding FA.