Saturday 24 March 2018

The words of abuse may differ, but all referees get targeted

Referee Rhona Daly shows the red card
Referee Rhona Daly shows the red card

Rhona Daly has been a FIFA-approved referee for more than 10 years and officiates at men's matches as well as women's. Regular League of Ireland attendees will know the name.

"There seems to be more acceptance now of women in the role of referee and assistant referee," she says. "When I started in 2003, it was all very new. There was only one other female officiating at that level so spectators and players were not used to seeing women working at matches. Now there are four women regularly officiating at Premier and First Division and International games so it's not so unexpected."

Despite a greater acceptance, Daly has to contend with verbal abuse on a regular basis – much of it inspired by her gender. "Unfortunately, with the sport of soccer there has always be verbal abuse and, until there is a complete mindset change, I fear this will continue to be the case.

"The words used when supporters shout at female officials differ from those aimed at the male officials, but unfortunately we all get targeted."

Irish Independent

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