Meeting planned to discuss ref shortage

Ref John Chalk dishing out a yellow card
Ref John Chalk dishing out a yellow card
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An open meeting of the Saturday, Sunday and Minor Leagues and local referees is being planned to try and address the shortage of referees in the area.

As reported in last week’s Scarborough News, rule 13b is being implemented by the Saturday League committee, forcing clubs to officiate their own games when a referee can’t be found.

Following criticism of the ruling on social media, North Riding County FA referees coach Steve Rowntree has taken steps to try and address the problem and offer clubs clarity on the ruling.

Rowntree said: “I’ve heard there’s been a lot of comments on Facebook, so I believe we need to bridge the gap between the clubs, leagues and referees.

“First of all, we need to try and get more people to take up refereeing, and this could be a start.

“The Sunday League, Minor League and Saturday League will hopefully all be there, clubs can come along and we’ll get some referees there too.”

Rowntree was quick to encourage anybody interested in taking up the whistle to visit the North Riding FA website to see what courses are available.

Alternatively, should they get at least 10 people interested, Rowntree believes that the North Riding would put a course on in Scarborough.

“It gives people the chance to put something back into the game,” said Rowntree.

“We have had some good referees in the area in recent years with the likes of Oliver O’Brien and Jack Fewster moving up to semi-pro football, so there’s chance for progression.”

Sunday League chairman Mark Plumpton is throwing his weight behind the idea.

He said: “A meeting of Scarborough clubs, officials and referees is a huge step forward to attempt to fill the current void of a lack of referees.

“There is a huge issue in not only local football but football as a whole regarding the respect of referees and if we can do something to combat and improve this we will undoubtably see an improvement in people wanting to take up the whistle and get involve.

“The general conduct of clubs, teams and players in our local leagues is not at a level it should be at which is no coincidence we are short on referees.

“The abuse some players give to each other and referees is quite frankly disgusting at times and if we can get together to put a stop to it we can hopefully bring forward a positive future in the Scarborough game.

“If we sit and do nothing we will continue to lose clubs, players and officials.

“It’s time to take action.”

Rowntree is hoping the meeting will take place on Wednesday December 14.