Chinese Association of Idaho State University (CAISU)
Children's football refs want body cams to protect them from parents at matches
Worried referees want bodycams to protect them from players AND parents at kids’ soccer matches.They report “crisis” levels of abuse during games and even long after the final whistle.Some have been confronted in pubs, attacked, spat at and had cars vandalised.Children football in Shanghai
In a sinister development, threats of rape have been made and female refs have been targeted on social media.
The officials – some left feeling suicidal – are calling for cameras to be fitted to shirts to capture tirades from players, managers, fans and parents.Footage would be passed to police and league officials and could lead to bans and prosecutions. The call came after reports of abuse from parents – and from players at senior matches.
Martin Cassidy, chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, said: “If officials and players knew they were filmed, the abuse would plummet.“At the moment it’s a crisis. It’s getting worse. There is a real problem with the mental health of referees at grassroots level.
“They are facing terrible abuse, threats and are being attacked. We’ve had referees tell us they feel suicidal.”The charity said weapons had been used in one attack, while teenage girls refereeing kids’ matches had been “intimidated and abused” by parents.
They also faced threats and abuse on social media. Mr Cassidy added: “It doesn’t just stop at the football pitch. It’s dreadful.”The International Football Association Board would have to approve the use of cameras.
The English FA said safeguarding moves were in place, adding: “We work alongside our County FA network to offer all referees appropriate support.”The Departure for Culture, Media and Sport said: “Attacks on referees, verbal or physical, are unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Any allegation should be reported to the police.”
Delivery driver and amateur ref Stuart Kane has been attacked during matches, spat on and verbally abused while out with his family.The 40-year-old said: “The abuse is out of control. The worst incident was in 2016 when I gave a penalty and a player grabbed me by the neck and hurled me to the floor. I was petrified.“I was in a lot of pain. The player was restrained by 20 players on the floor. It was horrific.“I’ve had objects thrown at me, approached in the clubhouse after and intimidated. I was having a drink and some food with my family recently.
"Suddenly a man came up to me, started swearing and telling me what a rubbish referee I was.“I think about going out at night but I’m staying in to avoid being abused. It’s easier. It’s horrible being abused like that. It happens often.