Should under-fire Ipswich-based Sunday referees go on strike?
HOW much trouble is Ipswich Sunday football in right now? Is there a case for in-danger referees going on strike?
Last season saw the closing down of the well-established Licensed Trades League because of lack of support and this weekend we read of horrendous alleged goings on at Whitton Sports Centre with reports of two separate incidents involving players and referees.
Police were called and the matter is bound to be looked at seriously by the Football Association.
Okay, there are too many red and yellow cards in local Saturday football, but their house is very much in order when compared with what appears to be happening regularly in the Sunday game.
The arrival of floodlights that sees top Saturday clubs playing twice a week and the increased number of players ineligible for Sunday football as they are under contracts has without doubt seen a deterioration in Sunday standards.
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Go back a few years and top Sunday football was akin to Ridgeons League playing levels.
Taking away the best players has diluted the product accordingly, and although no one is going to deny every one the right to play the game if they wish it is becoming more and more of nightmare for referees.
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Why should they be subject to alleged assaults just for playing a vital part in 22 guys having some outdoor fun?
Surely it is time to consider some sort of ‘strike’ by officials before one of them gets seriously hurt.
A high percentage are over 55 and numbers remain at a less then healthy level because just as many referees who get trained leave after deciding the hassle is not for them.
Mike Hamilton, who is press officer for the Flare Recruitment League in which both abandonments took place, said: “I don’t see the situation getting any worse.
“The number of disciplinary incidents are no more now than before.
“We can always do with more referees, but we have similar numbers to those we have been running with for a number of seasons.
“We are shocked what happened at two games at the weekend and there is no place for that.
“Our sympathies are with the two referees and we have spoken to them and assured them of our support.
“As a league we will look into both cases after the Football Association have dealt with their issues.”
To put things into perspective around 60 games were played in the Flare Recruitment League on Sunday with two major incidents.
But surely this is too many and there have been other alleged unpalatable happenings in the league that have been – or are being – investigated.