A Merseyside football referee who has been spat on, had coins thrown at him and been subject to mass brawls, said today the lack of support from the County FA was “a disgrace”.

Grassroot football referees have seen a worrying rise in abuse and violence when officiating football games since the start of the 2022/23 season.

And the referee, who we have agreed not to name, spoke out to air his concerns with the lack of support from the Liverpool County FA.

“I have been a referee for three years and I have never hated the role like I have this season,” he said.

He went on to explain that one of the biggest and most disappointing problems referees face is how the Liverpool County FA don’t offer support.

“They just do a ‘how are you’ call after the incident and you don’t hear from them again,” he added.

He feels the lack of support does not provide any comfort or reassurance as referees are not informed of any punishments or team charges.

“In what job can somebody verbally and physically abuse you and you never find out the outcome of their disciplinary?” he continued.

Even with the recent “National Silent Support Weekend” which the FA said aimed to promote good behaviour on touchlines across grassroots football, the referee believes it will not do much good long term.

He added: “It will help over the weekend, beyond the weekend it will not make a difference.”

On October 15, the Merseyside Youth Football league cancelled all fixtures following multiple incidents of inappropriate and threatening behaviour towards the league and match officials.

In a statement, the League said: “We cannot allow this toxic behaviour to continue to escalate, currently the number of incidents and the severity of incidents are rising weekly.”

Prior to the World Cup, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was handed a one-match touchline ban and fined £30,000.

Klopp aggressively confronted a match official during Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Manchester City on October 16.

He served his touchline ban against Southampton a month later in a game Liverpool won 3-1.

People in the grass roots games are calling on people at the top to show better examples.

James Bromley is Chairman and a Level 2 FA qualified coach for Broxtowe United FC based in Nottinghamshire.

He said: “The FA want complaints and issues to be raised but never take action and more often than not, criticise those that complain.

“It’s a mess.”

James has spent seven years raising complaints with issues involving players, coaches and spectators, and said “nothing is ever taken seriously”.

This has resulted in some incidents not being raised as it was causing more issues for volunteers.

“It wasn’t worth the stress,” James added.

He also shares the view that such campaigns such as RESPECT are not doing enough to protect those on the side lines of grassroots football.

“It is just words, there is no action from those that have the power to do something about it.”

Both the Liverpool and Nottinghamshire County FAs were contacted for comments but they have so far declined.

(featured image from pixabay, free to use licence)