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red card Hundreds of matches cancelled and 10,000 players affected as referees in abuse walk off

'Another member that is only a couple of months into his refereeing career went home on Sunday after an under-13s game and decided he wasn’t going to do any more matches'

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Hundreds of refs are walking off in protest (FILE PHOTO)

Hundreds of refs are walking off in protest (FILE PHOTO)

Hundreds of refs are walking off in protest (FILE PHOTO)

Around 550 matches involving more than 10,000 players in the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) have been cancelled this weekend due to what has been described as the “constant abuse” of referees.

The Irish Soccer Referee’s Society (ISRS) has decided to suspend this weekend’s fixtures as referees had already threatened to withdraw their services because of what they are facing from the side-lines.

The society’s Vice President Sean Slattery told Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live this afternoon how one female referee was down to do three games last weekend “but she walked off after the first match because the abuse got so bad”.

“She would be an experienced official and the abuse from management and spectators got so bad that she didn’t finish the other games,” Mr Slattery revealed.

“Another member that is only a couple of months into his refereeing career went home on Sunday after an under-13s game and decided he wasn’t going to do any more matches.”

He said referees simply want the rules that are in place to be enforced.

“The regulations are there for three years,” he said. “Some were new and some were upgraded so there are minimum sanctions that can be enforced but we are finding that, for repeat offenders, we have to chase things up even to get the basics done right.

“Some of the league disciplinary committees are handing down minimal fines or, if the same people, the same coaches maybe are being reported four or five times a season for abusing referees, why are they still allowed coach? Why are there not lengthy bans?

“The sanctions are there, they are just not being enforced by different leagues.”

Mr Slattery said the abuse Irish referees face at underage games around the country every weekend is forcing many to leave the game for good.

However, he said the ISRS is hoping the situation can be addressed.

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“All we are looking for is enforcement of the current rules,” he said. “We are not looking to change anything and we are not looking for a long drawn-out process.

“The leagues are bound by FAI rules nationwide and that is all we are asking for. Proper enforcement.”

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