Soccer in turmoil as referees make stand
Officials are withdrawing their services over safety fears
THE WICKLOW and District Football League is in turmoil following the decision of the Wicklow Branch of the Irish Soccer Referee’s Society of Ireland (ISRS) to withdraw their services as of Monday, January 26.
The referees’ decision came about after the Wicklow League’s failure ‘ to implement an agreement between the Irish Soccer Referees Society of Ireland and the FAI’.
The reason for their withdrawal goes back to when referee Thomas ‘Tucker’ Dowling was assaulted during a match between Enniskerry B and Arklow Town B on Sunday, November 30.
The Wicklow League has attempted to resolve the issue of the referee’s safety by introducing referee liaison officers at every club and have also stated their willingness to work with the Wicklow Branch of referees ‘to minimise the threat to referees of physical or verbal assault’.
As regards the immediate future of football in this county, it seems everybody is equally as clueless as regards when normal order will be restored.
Hopefully though, it will be sooner rather than later.
The Wicklow League
have released a statement regarding the matter, as have the referees although the referees made no attempt to make contact with the Bray/Wicklow People to discuss the situation nor did they send a copy of the statement to us.
Here is the Wicklow Branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society of Ireland’s statement: ‘Due to the failure of the Wicklow League to implement an agreement between the Irish Soccer Referees Society of Ireland (ISRS) and the FAI, the Wicklow Branch of the ISRS have decided to discontinue officiating in the Wicklow League.
This dispute was instigated as a result of a serious assault of one of our members.
As a result of this assault, the Wicklow ISRS sought for a trio of officials for matches of the team involved.
Although this solution was rejected by the Wicklow League, it was sought and given on a previous occasion.
It is with regret that we can no longer offer our services to the Wicklow League.
The Wicklow and District Schoolboys/Girls League (WDSL) will not be effected by this dispute.’
CONTINUED ON PAGE 49