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An open letter from Lee Swabey, Cornwall FA Referee Development Officer

"We are asking the Cornwall football family to help us in providing a positive experience for referees in Cornwall."

Cornwall FA were delighted to receive funding from the Football Delivery Fund to deliver two free referee courses in Cornwall. Initially the funding was to recruit 20 new referees but due to the interest we have been able to recruit 28 new referees, who will be looking to start their refereeing journey now.

With this in mind, we wanted to send a message out to all leagues, clubs and players in Cornwall to ask you all to please, treat your referees with respect and understanding. We have worked incredibly hard to recruit and train these new referees and we need your help and support to help us retain them who in turn will provide an important role in grassroots football in Cornwall.

We understand that football is a passionate game, but we are receiving an increased number of reports from referees of players surrounding them during games, spectators abusing them during and in some instances, after games, poor behaviour towards the referee from managers and coaches during and after games. As we said, we know football is a passionate game, but that referee, who may be refereeing their first game, is there trying to do their best, they will get things wrong, they will make mistakes, but they will be there doing their best.

Too many current referees are contacting us considering giving up due to this poor behaviour, so please take a moment before letting your emotions get the better of you, that referee you are screaming at, may not referee another game again which means one more game of football in Cornwall goes without a referee.

Cornwall FA would ask all clubs who feel that a referee’s performance falls below the expected standard to follow protocol and submit an adverse report to Lee Swabey (Cornwall FA RDO), who will then share the report with members of The Cornwall FA Referee Department who will use this feedback to provide the referee with guidance and development support. We want to stress that these reports are not ignored, we can’t have eyes and ears everywhere but with constructive feedback from clubs, you can help us to support the development of all referees in Cornwall. We hope that by treating your referee with respect, understanding and using the correct reporting procedure, you have an outlet to share frustrations, and we can all work together to retain and help develop these new referees.

A reminder that any referee wearing a purple shirt is U18, so please remind coaches, parents and spectators that young referees are minors and still learning various aspects of refereeing. Therefore, it’s imperative that these officials can fulfil their role in a friendly and supportive environment where they can continue to learn, flourish and enjoy the game.

We are asking the Cornwall football family to help us in supporting and providing a positive experience for all referees in Cornwall. Thank you.

- Lee Swabey, Cornwall FA Referee Development Officer

 Lee can be reached via email for any inquiries regarding refereeing: