Two underage soccer leagues have postponed all their matches this weekend after a strike by referees due to “constant abuse" of referees and "threatening behaviour from managers, players, coaches and supporters".
It has been announced that the North Dublin Schoolboys League and the Metropolitan Girls League have postponed their games this coming weekend as there will be no officials present.
Tony Gains, honorary secretary of the NDSL/MGL, confirmed in a statement that all matches are off, including small-sided games, 11-a-side and friendly games.
He said in a statement: “I have just been informed that all referees who are refereeing in the NDSL & MGL are withdrawing their services this weekend and the reason why they are withdrawing their services is because of constant abuse and threatening behaviour from managers, players, coaches and supporters.”
He highlighted an incident in which a young female referee suffered abuse over the weekend.
“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,” he said.
“Another young referee who has only been refereeing for the past 2 months was petrified on the pitch, he was so afraid to even to collect his gear. This abuse he took was absolutely disgraceful.
“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.
“This is a sad day for football and I hope we will learn from what is happening this weekend,” Mr Gains said.
He added that the future of the following week’s NDSL/MGL fixtures will depend on “discussion with the referees.”
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