DECLINE IN WEST NORFOLK A WORRYING TREND' - Norfolk FA
The Norfolk County FA Referee
Department has highlighted a worrying trend which has seen referee figures
decline in the west of the County, to the point it is affecting the grassroots
game in the area.
Of the many different roles that people
can play within grassroots football, without any one of players, coaches,
volunteers or referees, football begins to struggle; and West Norfolk urgently
needs an influx of referees.
Within the last 5 years, 94% of grassroots
matches played on a Saturday in Norfolk have had a qualified FA referee appointed
to them. Without an appointed FA official, games are difficult for clubs to
manage and those fixtures featuring non-qualified referees can often be
tarnished due to the inexperience of volunteers.
Between the 2014/15 season and the
2017/18 season, the North West Norfolk Football League saw an increase in the
amount of matches that were officiated by an appointed FA referee, with
coverage reaching 90%. However, this season for a number of reasons there has
been a desperate shortage of referees in the area meaning that the percentage
of coverage has dropped to 80%, other leagues are also feeling the affect.
Despite maybe seeming high, that figure
is 15% lower than the overall Saturday League referee coverage in the whole of
Norfolk FA’s message is simple. For football
in North West Norfolk to improve and for participation to increase, more referees
are required in the area.
Chairman of the North West Norfolk
league, Ray Venemore said: “The teams in
our league pay affiliation fees and rightfully expect to have their games
covered. We’re aware of the Referee shortage in the area and the impact this is
having on players’ football experiences; we are therefore working hard with
Norfolk FA to hopefully recruit more officials to address this.”
Referee Development Officer, David
Robinson said: “Coverage in North West
Norfolk is proving challenging this season. We’ve been successful in supporting
and developing referees in other parts of the County to date, it would be great
to start some people from the North West on a similar journey.”
Refereeing is a great way to give back
to the beautiful game, to keep fit, stay involved in football and to earn money
in the process. Norfolk FA are calling for people to take up the whistle and
are running two courses in January, one of which is in King’s Lynn, to qualify the
next generation of Norfolk referees.
Could refereeing can be your New Year’s
Resolution? Call us on 01603 704050 (Ext 1; Opt 1) or email info@NorfolkFA.com for further information and to have a chat about getting involved.