The Chairman of an amateur football club in Winton has outlined the importance of the club’s ‘Respect the Referee’ campaign.

Lee Egan, Chairman of Winton Wanderers, is overseeing the campaign, whereby young players are making creative pieces to discourage abuse against referees.

It also encourages players to have a pre-match handshake with the referee, which started on the weekends matches.

With the club being one of the largest grassroots clubs in Salford, it is particularly important that the club sets a precedent online.

Mr Egan spoke about the campaign: “We’ve asked the kids to come up with a slogan for the campaign, they’re doing posters at the minute for it, we’ve had some kids do poems which is superb.

“We’ve also put a campaign out for the parents to do the parents awareness course, at the moment we’ve had 34 of our parents do it, with our goal being 100 parents doing the course.”

Image: Screenshot from twitter, permission granted by Winton Wanderers to use

Referee abuse has been a growing issue in recent years, with 93.7% of match officials stating that they have faced physical or verbal abuse at some point.

Just last week, the Merseyside Youth League cancelled all of its games in an attempt to raise awareness on referee abuse.

Mr Egan felt particularly strongly about the abuse on young referees: “Sometimes you just feel like these young refs aren’t getting the protection they need, these young referees are somebody’s child, would some of these parents let their child be spoken to in the way they speak to referees.

“I think if we can get that across to them, then the attitudes will start to change, so it’s something that we’re trying to push this campaign as far as we can.”

He also believes that a pre-match handshake with the referee and the players will give the referee more confidence and they will feel like they are in a safe environment.


He said: “If we can spread this as far wide as we can, and all clubs are shaking referees hands and appreciating what they do, it just makes the games more enjoyable for everyone.

“The kids are there for enjoyment, and if the referee has parents abusing them, then it’s going to filter down to the kids who are going to think this abuse is natural.

“The handshake makes such a difference, I had one referee say to me the handshake is the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen whilst in the job.”

The club has also received support on social media from the league.

Find more about Winton Wanderers and their campaigns here



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