Purple shirts to be worn by young referees in Lincolnshire to encourage respect from the sidelines and prevent incidents of intimidation and verbal abuse
Lincolnshire FA is set to continue the support of young referees by launching a county-wide purple shirt campaign, enforcing the message that some referees are children themselves and therefore still subject to the children’s safeguarding legislation.
All active referees between the ages of 14 to 17 will be issued with distinctive purple shirts for the 2019/20 season to identify them as children. These shirts will be worn during games to remind everyone that the referee is a child, with the aim being to stop the growing number of incidents of intimidation and verbal abuse towards referees on a matchday.
Becoming a referee is a fantastic way for young people to learn leadership skills, improve communication and gain new-found confidence, but all too often this can be compromised by over-zealous managers or spectators disagreeing with a particular official’s decision.
Respect for all participants in the game is crucial to its development and Lincolnshire FA is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable platform for football to flourish. Whilst abuse towards an official is never tolerated, it is particularly shocking when directed at anyone under the age of 18 and still learning about the game.
Every youth league in the county is fully behind the initiative and will be working alongside Lincolnshire FA to create an improved environment at games.
Sarah Pridmore, Designated Safeguarding Officer for Lincolnshire FA (pictured, right), said: “It is really important to Lincolnshire FA that we are doing everything we can to create a safe and positive environment for all our children and young people to learn, grow and develop. The purple shirt is a great way to ensure that everyone is aware when the referee on their game is a child.
“Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and we must ensure that the referees are being looked after and treated with respect when they are present at fixtures. I fully support the purple shirt campaign!”
Michael Brader, Referee Development Officer for Lincolnshire FA, has echoed those sentiments, stating that the campaign could be crucial for the development of young referees in Lincolnshire.
He said: “The challenge for a teenager to take charge of a game where there may well be up to 100 people involved both on and off the pitch is huge. Annually we see over a hundred take the two full days of practical training to prepare them for the challenge and we work with leagues to ensure a safe introduction. For the vast majority the experience is very positive and we have some extremely talented individuals who have already progressed through the levels.
“The purple shirt will ensure everyone knows if they abuse that referee they are abusing a child and the ramifications that brings.”
To read more about Lincolnshire FA’s safeguarding policies and procedures, and to find out how you can start refereeing with the County FA, follow the links below.
SAFEGUARDING AND WELFARE
GET INTO REFEREEING
To learn more about The FA’s Respect campaign, visit www.thefa.com/get-involved/respect