REFEREES come in for a lot of stick and sometimes it’s justified but would you want to do their job?
A special report by BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast paints a depressing picture.
Referee Peter Suter, who has been taking charge of local football matches for over 27 years, is now thinking about quitting after being attacked following a six-a-side match in a Doncaster league.
“I was talking to another referee after the game, when he said ‘look out’. I turned around and was head-butted by one of the players. I’d already had to send off two players during the game. I felt dazed and concussed after the assault, and I couldn’t sleep for several days,” he said.
“There were lots of people watching, other referees, spectators and kids. I was humiliated and intimidated. No referee deserves this sort of treatment.”
Mr Suter went on: “ Players are learning bad habits and a lack of respect from watching high-level football on TV. For some of them, having a go at the ref is part of the game.”
According to BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast attacks on grassroots referees by footballers in England have gone up by more than a quarter in the past year.
Although there is never any excuse for violent behaviour towards referees, some of their decisions do leave you scratching your head.
A report in the Derby Telegraph newspaper revealed that a football club’s manager was astonished after a referee ordered a player to take off his underpants!
The request happened at an East Midlands Counties League game between Holbrook Sports and Bardon Hill.
Holbrook’s manager Leigh Grant told the Telegraph that the decision meant Bardon’s centre half was off the pitch for three minutes.
“The player had to go behind a fence and take them off. He was wearing black underpants under white shorts. But the ruling is to do with cycling shorts so why he was being asked to take off his underwear is beyond me.”
England manager Fabio Capello didn’t have any problems with underpants during the recent Euro 2012 qualifying game against Wales but he did criticised fans for shining laser pens.
He has urged authorities to track down fans who were shining them in players’ eyes.
“It was a silly thing,” said Capello.
“When we changed Scott Parker I saw it but not before.
“It is not good. You need to find these people who are coming to the game with a laser. It is not sporting.”
The Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has also been in hot water.
BBC Sport reported that the 20 year old was spoken to by club officials after it emerged he threw a dart at a youth team player several weeks ago. No-one was injured but it is the latest in a line of incidents involving the controversial former Inter Milan star who cost City £24million.
The latest club to endure difficult financial times is Championship outfit Coventry City. The club’s board said that a cash boost of several million pounds from owners SISU has saved Coventry from administration.
Chairman Ken Dulieu told a press conference more investment would be needed and that administration had been “seriously close.”
“Will we have enough money to get to the end of the season? The answer is I’m not sure. We need to get greater funding. This is not sustainable.”