NDSL/MGL official: "I hope we will learn from what is happening this weekend." Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Ref Justice

‘A sad day for football’: Dublin youth league fixtures cancelled following referee abuse

550 Dublin schoolboy and schoolgirl games to be cancelled in response to ‘constant abuse and threatening behaviour’.

TWO DUBLIN YOUTH soccer leagues have cancelled all fixtures this weekend as referees take a stand against “constant abuse and threatening behaviour”.

Referees in the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) and the Metropolitan Girls League (MGL) are withdrawing their services in response to the abuse from managers, players, coaches and supporters.

“This is a sad day for football and I hope we will learn from what is happening this weekend,” the leagues’ honorary secretary and CEO Tony Gains wrote in a message circulated to all clubs.

Gains detailed the “absolutely disgraceful” abuse suffered by two referees this past weekend, a female official who has now decided to give up refereeing as well as a young male official who was afraid to collect his gear.

“This weekend a female referee refereeing her first game of three games was abused so badly from the time she entered the pitch, she decided that she is not taking any more of this abuse from these people and she has now decided to give up refereeing entirely.

“Another young referee who has only been refereeing for the past 2 months was petrified on the pitch, he was so afraid even to collect his gear. This abuse he took was absolutely disgraceful.”

Gains added: “I have also informed our Disciplinary Committee to have zero tolerance when it comes to these matters and to penalise these culprits where it hurts.

“Let me remind all our clubs you are responsible for the conduct of managers, players, coaches and supporters.”

Sean Slattery, vice president of the Irish Soccer Referees’ Society, told the RTÉ Radio News at One that 550 games would be affected this weekend.

“When you do the math on that, that’s thousands of players that won’t be playing.

“The last thing any referee wants to do is abandon a game. It’s the last resort.”


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