We have launched a new initiative providing yellow armbands to all young match officials as part of our efforts to support their development and combat negative behaviour
As part of our ongoing support to the next generation of match officials, we are providing yellow armbands to all registered referees in the county under the age of 18. When worn during matches these armbands clearly signify to coaches, players and spectators that these referees are still children and should be treated accordingly.
Participating in football should be a fun, safe and positive experience for all, but especially the young people who represent the future of our game. Negative behaviour towards referees of any age is unacceptable and should have no place in the game, but abuse directed towards children is particularly abhorrent.
In cases involving a young referee who is subject to negative behaviour, their age is considered by the disciplinary panel as an aggravating factor, meaning the sanctions imposed on offenders are increased.
Too many young referees leave the game because of negative experiences in these early years. We hope that people will see these armbands at games and behave appropriately, understanding that young referees, just like young players, are learning the game and need support and encouragement so that they can develop and improve.
On the launch of the new armbands, Hertfordshire FA Football Development Officer (Referees), Joe Karram said:
“We are passionate about producing, supporting and retaining the next generation of match officials, who are absolutely crucial for the future of the grassroots game in our county. Our goal is to eradicate the disgraceful abuse directed towards match officials and hope that all clubs, volunteers, parents and spectators will join us in ensuring the environment in which they officiate is a positive one”.
Hertfordshire FA Designated Safeguarding Officer Gemma Chaffey added:
“We work hard to make everyone aware how they can play their part in protecting young people, through activity such as the Play Safe campaign to raise awareness of Safeguarding in football. Introducing these armbands adds another element, making people think twice about how they speak and act towards young referees, reminding them negative behaviour directed at children is never acceptable".
We have worked with partners across the grassroots game locally in developing this initiative and appreciate their support both now and in the future in dealing with this issue.
Thank you to the youth leagues across the county who have been involved, including Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League, Herts Youth League, Mid Herts League, Royston Crow Youth Football League, Watford Friendly League, and West Herts Youth League as well as our discipline partners at Sport Integrity Matters.
As ever, if you witness poor behaviour at a game in Hertfordshire we encourage you to report it to us, so that we can take appropriate action. You can find details of how to do this by following the link below (Match Officials should provide details of any incidents affecting themselves via the usual Extraordinary Report process).
REPORTING POOR BEHAVIOUR
For any qualified officials looking to get involved in taking youth games in different competitions, referee contacts for each of the leagues in our county can be found on this page.