The Warrington Referees’ Association has told Mersey Sport Live that UEFA’s latest recruitment drive is ‘unrealistic.’

Responding to a shortage of match officials in the game, European football’s governing body launched the ‘Be a Referee’ campaign in November with the hope of recruiting 40,000 new referees each season.

Described as a ‘mob mentality’, research suggests that more than 90% of referees have experienced abuse at grassroots level.

The increasing mistreatment of referees has caused serious shortages across the UK. Leagues are struggling to find enough officials with many giving up the idea of making a career out of refereeing, often citing abuse as the reason for walking away from the game.

UEFA Chief of Football, Zvonimir Boban, stated: “This campaign holds immense significance for the future of football, as referees play a pivotal role in safeguarding the game on the field of play.”

However, The Warrington Referee Association has doubts about UEFA’s targets. In addition, Martin Cassidy from RefSupportUK sheds light on the challenges faced by referees and why the issues start at the very top of the game.

He has called for a change in how football pundits speak about officials, telling Mersey Sport Live “referees are seen as fair game in the media”.

Listen to Zoe McGrady’s report >>>