Referees under 18 to wear purple shirts in Lincolnshire

Referees under the age of 18 will wear distinctive purple shirts.
Referees under the age of 18 will wear distinctive purple shirts.

Referees under the age of 18 will take to the field in purple shirts across the county this season.

The eyecatching Lincolnshire FA campaign will remind players and spectators that the person officiating their contest is a child in a bid to curb abuse or intimidation and ensure safeguarding of the youingsters.

Michael Brader, referee development officer for Lincolnshire FA, believes the campaign could be crucial for the development of young referees in the area.

“The challenge for a teenager to take charge of a game where there may well be up to 100 people involved both on and off the pitch is huge,” he explained.

“Annually we see over 100 take the two full days of practical (referee) training to prepare them for the challenge and we work with leagues to ensure a safe introduction.

“For the vast majority the experience is very positive and we have some extremely talented individuals who have already progressed through the levels.

“The purple shirt will ensure everyone knows if they abuse that referee they are abusing a child and the ramifications that brings.”

All active referees between the ages of 14 to 17 will be issued with distinctive purple shirts for the 2019-20 season to identify them as children.

Sarah Pridmore, designated safeguarding officer for Lincolnshire FA, said: “It is really important to Lincolnshire FA that we are doing everything we can to create a safe and positive environment for all our children and young people to learn, grow and develop.

“The purple shirt is a great way to ensure that everyone is aware when the referee on their game is a child.

“Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and we must ensure that the referees are being looked after and treated with respect when they are present at fixtures. I fully support the purple shirt campaign.”