The Football Association of Ireland has vowed to back referees after games in a number of underage leagues were called off this week as referee's went on strike due to 'constant abuse' they suffer.
In response, the FAI has promised Irish referees that any abuse directed at them in the course of their duties will not be tolerated and will be punished after the FAI became aware of the action taken by referees in Dublin to withdraw their services from games this coming weekend.
The FAI has been informed that this action, which has led to a number of postponements in affected Leagues, was taken after a number of referees were abused at fixtures last weekend and in light of escalating abuse against match officials.
FAI Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Hill said: “I can assure affiliates across the country that the FAI will do whatever is needed to ensure the protection of all our referees – without them we have no game, plain and simple. The small minority of players, coaches, officials and all others guilty of such abuse need to understand that. They must know that Irish football and the FAI will do whatever we have to do to ensure a zero tolerance policy towards abuse of any match official.
“Our disciplinary regulations carry clear and serious sanctions to be enforced on anyone who abuses a match official and we are calling on all Leagues to enforce those sanctions. We cannot and will not tolerate any abuse aimed at a referee at any level of the game.”
On Monday, it was announced that the North Dublin Schoolboys League and the Metropolitan Girls League had postponed their games for the coming weekend as there will be no officials present.
The leagues had been informed that referees were withdrawing their services because of "constant abuse and threatening behaviour from managers, players, coaches and supporters”.
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