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Abuse of power: football’s culturally accepted contempt for its own referees

The shocking verbal abuse suffered by match officials at all levels of football is a stain on the game and stamping it out must be made a priority

Pathetic. Cheat. Joke. These are some of the more “PG” things I’ve been called over the past month while refereeing football. I give up my Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings along with hordes of other qualified referees to ensure that the thousands of football games taking place across the country can go ahead.

I qualified as a football referee in 2011, three months after my 14th birthday. An avid football fan, I was excited to experience football from a different perspective, while at the same time earning a bit of pocket money. At a time when my friends were starting to talk about part-time work, becoming a referee seemed like a no-brainer: spending my weekend outside; running around keeping fit, doing a job that I was actually interested in.

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