Wednesday, January 18, 2017
By Organic Bull
Some grassroot referees are considering striking on March 4th in protest against continuing verbal and physical abuse.
It comes after a young official, Ryan Hampson, set up a Facebook group called 'referee strike campaign'.
"I am hoping to change things but, if there is no change, referees will walk away and I’ll be one of them," said Hampson as reported by the Telegraph.
"We are not a punch bag. We are not a swear box and people need to start understanding that. To us, this is a crisis."
Back in 2008, the FA launched the 'Respect' campaign. However little is heard or seen about these days.
"You see a banner sometimes but you don’t see it everywhere. I don’t think there is any Respect campaign any more. I think it is dead in the water."
The FA have recently appointed a new Respect manager who starts work next month.
Hampson spoke about one incident.
"I gave a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area," he said.
"The player said I was cheat. I said, ‘You can’t speak to me like that’. He said, ‘I’ll do more that that. I’ll ****ing knock you out’. Then he hit me in the face. I sent him off. It was hard to carry on with the game but I just got through it. The other team got the player away immediately."
Hampson said he had no support from anyone until the chief executive of Manchester FA, Colin Bridgford took up his case.
"I am thankful for the support but we are not budging on the strike until there are changes introduced nationwide," said Hampson.
"We referee because we love it - and most games are enjoyable and people are friendly and respectful – but the bad games have been getting more frequent."
Manchester FA have promised more support for referees. Whether the FA will follow remains to be seen.
Hereford are away at Didcot on March 4th.