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Abuse of referees is ‘simply unacceptable’

By SPP Reporter

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Local refs have complained about the abuse they have received this summer.
Local refs have complained about the abuse they have received this summer.

SOCCER referees in Caithness are bemoaning the abuse they have been receiving from dugouts this summer.

The season has witnessed a record number of cases where managers have been ordered from the field because of foul-mouthed tirades.

Up to Thursday, the equivalent of 10 red cards had been issued to five managers of county first-division clubs.

Suleiman Makhouli, chairman of the local refs, said the abuse must stop or more and more referees will hang up their whistles.

He and his colleagues are also very concerned at the time it has taken for the cases to be dealt with.

Mr Makhouli revealed the refs set out this season to operate a zero-tolerance policy on verbal abuse directed at them from players and club officials.

He said: "It was happening before but we decided we should clamp down hard on it this season. We have to make split-second decisions on whether the ball has crossed the line or if it’s a penalty or not and we acknowledge we can make mistakes.

"It happens but nothing warrants us having to put up with somebody cursing and swearing at us, threatening us or spitting at us. All of this has happened this season and it’s simply unacceptable. Enough is enough."

Angus Mackay, secretary of Caithness Amateur Football Association, supported refs in their grievance.

He said: "The level of abuse directed at refs this season has been unacceptable.

"Refs can make genuine mistakes and it can be frustrating for managers but they have to show restraint and not overstep the mark."

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