Jersey FA is set to continue to support young referees by launching an island-wide Purple Shirt campaign, enforcing the message that some referees are under 18 years of age and therefore still subject to children’s safeguarding legislation.
All active referees between the ages of 14 to 17 will be issued with a distinctive purple shirt prior to the new season to identify them as a u18 match official. These shirts will be worn by U18 match officials during Combination fixtures, to remind everyone that within the law the referee is still a child.
The aim of the purple shirt campaign is to eliminate the number of incidents of intimidation and the questioning of young referee decisions on matchday. The campaign will also support the recruitment and retention of young officials.
Respect for all participants in the game is crucial to its development and Jersey FA is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for football to flourish. Whilst abuse towards an official is never tolerated, it is particularly shocking when directed at anyone under the age of 18 who still learning about the game.
Becoming a referee is a fantastic way for young people to learn leadership skills, improve communication and gain new-found confidence, but too often this can be compromised by over-enthusiastic managers or spectators disagreeing with a particular official’s decision. Unfortunately in recent seasons we have seen a number of young officials drop out of the game due to such behaviour.
Brian Oliver, Jersey FA Football Development Manager, said: “Each season we organise and deliver a FA Referee Training Course (which involves two full days of practical training) and a Referee Development Centre to provide a safe and enjoyable introduction into the game for young match officials.
“We also allocate referee mentors to each new official to provide the required level of support and guidance during their first season or two.
“For most young referees the experience is very positive and we have some extremely talented individuals progressing through the various referee levels and some who just completing their first season.
“The challenge for a youngster to take charge of a game can be huge, particularly where there may well be up to 100 people involved both on and off the pitch.
“The Purple Shirt campaign will ensure everybody knows that it is a youngster officiating the game and poor behaviour from spectators, managers or coaches is just not acceptable. Such initiatives will lead to an improved environment for all involved and an increase in the number of referees staying in the game.”
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