League sees red over shortage of refs

SUFFOLK'S top football league, the Metaltec SIL, is bringing in bold new measures in an attempt to improve the dire refereeing situation in the area.

Elvin King

SUFFOLK'S top football league, the Metaltec SIL, is bringing in bold new measures in an attempt to improve the dire refereeing situation in the area.

The league is dependant on older referees but, as they call it a day, they are not being replaced by younger officials.

A disciplinary sub committee is being formed and players who have received red cards could find themselves banned from playing in the league.


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League official David Mayes said: “We are determined to drive thugs out of football. This is why we are forming a disciplinary sub-committee. Any player who receives a 35-day suspension from Suffolk FA will be invited to a committee meeting, along with their club chairman and secretary.

“Their misdemeanour will be discussed and depending on the outcome of the hearing the league may invoke its power to withdraw the player's registration. This is likely to be the case with any second 35-day ban in a season.”

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Mayes is looking for the initiative to help with referee retention with the SIL turning down every new application at their recent annual general meeting because of a lack of officials.

They have also reduced the number of teams in their lower divisions.

“We are doing all we can to help the referee situation,” added Mayes. “We are raising match fees and expenses for referees, rewarding clubs who have good sportsmanship and referee administration records and punishing those with poor records, etc.

“The decline in numbers of referees has been going on for a number of years now with the average age increasing season on season.

“New referees are not coming through to replace the older ones that hang up their whistle. This season we have lost the long-serving and ever-reliable Brian Lennon to retirement - and a guy who has given us 40 years service is very difficult to replace.”

Like all leagues, the SIL is hoping that the appointment of a referees' development officer by Suffolk FA will lead to an eventual increase in officials available to grass roots leagues.

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