Antrim ref considered calling strike over abuse
A LEADING Antrim official seriously contemplated calling a referees' strike this year, such was the abuse to which local officials were being subjected.
In his report to the upcoming Antrim convention, the chairman of the local referees' committee, Gerry McClory, reveals that he came close to following the example set by the current Scottish soccer referees' impasse.
"This year, for the first time in over 40 years of refereeing, I considered calling a referees' strike," McClory reveals. "The reason was the daily phone calls from referees wanting to stop refereeing because of the amount of physical and verbal abuse hurled at them. Thankfully, wise heads prevailed," he said.
"Officials try to influence referees to change or water down their reports. It has happened on at least four occasions this year," he added.
McClory said verbal attacks on referees in Antrim had increased in the last year and that he was aware of four referees who were hanging up their whistles as a result.
"I would like to say that refereeing recruitment has increas-ed, that abuse has stopped and the clubs in Antrim have woken up and accepted their responsibilities. Unfortunately, I cannot," he said.
"Yes, certain clubs have, but as for the rest of the clubs, they have just put their heads in the sand."
"During these past years, club officials have berated me about the standard of refereeing within the county. When asked to supply names of people to be trained, they just ignore the request.
"Verbal assault, lack of referees, little or no recruitment and referees being treated with contempt does nothing to enhance the reputation of our association, yet it seems to be acceptable," McClory added.