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Tue, December 19, 2023

New FA data shows increase in abuse towards grassroots officials

New FA data shows increase in abuse towards grassroots officials

New FA data has shown that allegations of abuse towards grassroots officials increased in 2022-23 from the previous season. 

In total there were 1,451 allegations which is up 1% on the 2021-22 figures with there being 72 about an actual or attempted assault, 391 about actual or attempted physical contact and 988 relating to threatening a match official. There were 42 proven cases of assault or attempted assault. 

New rules have been introduced this season to try and combat the issue with clubs potentially being deducted points for “repeated offences of serious misconduct.” In 2024 eight county associations will trial grassroots referees wearing bodycams as another way of hopefully reducing the levels of abuse. Bodycams were trialled last season and there were no reported incidents across almost 500 matches. 

Allegations of discrimination were also up 10% and allegations of serios misconduct were up 9% to 3,636 with 82% of charges proven. 

Participant behaviour towards referees in professional football is also in the spotlight following an attack on a referee in Turkey last week. Halil Umut Meler was punched by the president of MKE Ankaragucu, Faruk Koca, at the end of a match on December 11. Koca was arrested over the incident and has since been issued with a permanent ban by the Turkish Football Federation.

Manchester City were fined £120,000 by an independent regulatory commission on Monday after their players surrounded referee Simon Hooper during their Premier League match against Tottenham on December 3.

Image credit Ronnie MacDonald. 

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