Kent

Premier League stars should respect referees more, says Kent FA boss

Referee with football Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The behaviour of grassroots footballer has begun to mirror players from the Premier League

Premier League stars should set a far better example to grassroots players when it comes to respecting referees, a Football Association (FA) boss said.

Kent FA head Paul Dolan highlighted 130 incidents of abuse this season.

Referees in the county were the victims of physical and verbal abuse on 19 and 111 occasions respectively.

Speaking about elite players not being punished for swearing at officials, Mr Dolan said there was a "need to educate people that this isn't acceptable".

"You regularly watch the professional game and you see players routinely swearing and it doesn't get dealt with," he told the BBC. "Unfortunately that has filtered down into the grassroots game.

"Your wouldn't go into a local restaurant and just start swearing at people, so why is it acceptable to go on to a football pitch at the weekend and do it?

"The professional game needs to take a lead in this."

'Scared'

One referee, Holly Warmington, said she quit in July because of the problem.

She said: "On one occasion I had physical abuse, where a parent came on the pitch and poked me in the chest, telling me all the ways I was a rubbish referee and shouldn't continue.

"That put a bit of a fear in me and I don't think you should carry on something if you're scared to do it.

"On that occasion of physical abuse it was 12-year-olds I was refereeing."

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