Warning over number of referees

SUFFOLK football has been warned it could be hit by a reduction in referees this season.Martin Head, secretary of the Suffolk Football Association, said in his report at the county's annual general meeting that the number of registered officials would be down at the start of the campaign.

By Elvin King

SUFFOLK football has been warned it could be hit by a reduction in referees this season.

Martin Head, secretary of the Suffolk Football Association, said in his report at the county's annual general meeting that the number of registered officials would be down at the start of the campaign.

“The effect of the FA's decision that referees must have completed Criminal Records Bureau checks and Child Protection training before being allowed to register for 2007/08 is having a detrimental effect on numbers,” said Head in his fifth annual report.


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“Many referees are now in the process of obtaining the necessary Child Protection qualification, but it seems certain that locally and nationally the number of registered referees will be down at the start of the season.”

Suffolk now has eight Level 3 (Contributory League) referees and their number of Level 4 (Supply League) referees has doubled.

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“The only disappointment we have suffered is the FA's refusal to allow the Metaltec SIL Senior Division to regain its Supply League status,” added Head. “During the year I produced a paper outlining my concerns about the whole culture surrounding refereeing. I am not sure people realise how serious this problem is - and can become.”

There was a 4.67% increase in the number of cases dealt with by Suffolk FA - 9,804 compared to 9,367 in 2005/06.

There were 1,172 sendings off compared to 1,095, which represents a 7.03% increase. There were 8,008 cautions compared to 7,657.

One player managed 20 cautions, while 19 others recorded ten or more. Ten cases of assaults on referees were recorded in Suffolk.

Head paid tribute to former secretary Bill Stewart and Harold Smith, who both passed away during the year. “I would like to publicly acknowledge all the help Bill gave me since I became county secretary,” he said.

“I shall remember him as a quiet, well-mannered, football-loving man who played a very important role within Suffolk FA for many years.

“Dear Harold Smith also sadly passed away, aged 89. Harold was county chairman from 1981-1983 and also served as the county's FA representative for several years.

“He was an Ipswich Town director and provided a link between the professional and 'grass roots' game. His genial manner and sense of humour livened up many a boring meeting.”

Head congratulated Suffolk winners in 2006/07 making special mention of village club Walsham-le-Willows, who won promotion to the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League.

“Walsham's rise through the leagues and divisions is quite remarkable,” said Head.

In the last year Clare received an FA grant of £197,000 towards a pavilion. Lakenheath have been granted £500,000 towards new pitches and changing facilities, but Head said: “This has been thrown into doubt by local politics.”

Twenty one grants have been secured toward the costs of replacing dangerous or non-compliant goalposts across the county.

Over 300 males and 24 females have successfully taken part in Level 1-3 coaching courses, plus 13 on the Level 1 goalkeeping course. There are 24 new Charter Standard clubs and schools and 19 clubs have renewed their Charter Standard status.

JONATHAN White, a current referee, has replaced Bill Steward as county treasurer.

Martin Head has replaced Bill as Suffolk's FA delegate and will sit on the FA Council.

TONY Trevers has replaced Brian Chapman as county referees' secretary.

MICK Pearce from Bury St Edmunds has been elected to replace David Porter as county chairman with Peter Cocker becoming vice-chairman.

MICK Leeds, John Thorndyke and George Whight have been re-elected as directors.

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