Take note. There won't be any ref rage if we have no refs

By Danny Caro, November 4, 2010
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It hasn't been a good week for referees, and I'm not just talking about Mark Clattenburg. Several irate Maccabi League managers were left pulling their hair out on Sunday and my weekly online review was packed with foul-mouthed tirades from clubs far from happy with the performance of their officials.

The pick of the complaints came from Neal Cohen, the Zig Zag boss. He claimed that his team "were robbed by disgraceful decisions" made by Martin Fox, the MSFL Referees Secretary.

Cohen has complained about referees over the past few weeks. He added: "I'm losing patience with this. It is getting beyond a joke and my players are in bits."

Fox admits that he is fighting a battle and believes that such fierce criticism is pushing referees out of the game. He said: "It hurts when a team accuses a referee of cheating. We all try to do an honest job. It's totally uncalled for.

"Even at the highest level, a referee can make a 'Clanger-burg'. We've all got failings but we're only human and must be shown some respect otherwise we're going to continue to lose referees."

The Division Four clash between Heath Banta and Redbridge Jewish Care C did not go ahead as there was no referee available. Fox hopes that this is not a sign of things to come. Now he believes that clubs must get their shop in order. "All amateur leagues are short of refs, not just ours. Certain teams are respectful towards officials while others are abusive. It's unacceptable and it appears that there are no referees good enough on the planet for some clubs like Zig Zag.

"Referees are easy targets. Managers are calling us cheats and we have no recourse. People have to remember that we're Sunday morning amateurs. Refs don't get up on a Sunday morning to be abused. It has to stop.

"I have some refs getting good reports but others are terrible. The week before last, three of my referees gave teams 10 out of 10 for sportsmanship, turnout and behaviour."

Talking about the Clattenburg incident at Old Trafford, Spurs fan Fox said: "The ref wasn't entirely to blame but when he had the chance to put it right, he didn't. Common sense should have prevailed. The problem is that a lot of rules used to be black or white. Now there are too many grey areas."

So the message is clear. If you want the league to continue, get off the referee's back, regardless of whether he is right or wrong.

● I've been hearing some great things about Mr Anthony Wolfson, the new headteacher at Rosh Pinah School. Since joining, two new schemes have gone down well with pupils and parents alike. The good work and politeness initiatives are rewarded with a visit to the head office for a pat on the back, a nice sticker and a mention in the school newsletter. In my day, we only went there when for bad behaviour so it's refreshing to see a new approach adopted to promote the highest standards of behaviour and respect both in and out of school, especially in an age of knife crime and gang culture.

● Adam Joselyn wins my JC MSFL Player of the Month award for November. The North London Raiders A club captain has propelled the team up the table with top-level displays against Faithfold, Redbridge, Lions and Hendon. The MJSL award goes to Phillip Braham of Hyde Park Rovers. For the full list go to thejc.com

● The JC MSFL's first Representative match of the London Inter-League Cup competition is against the Turkish Community Football Federation on November 30 at Wingate & Finchley.

    Last updated: 4:31pm, November 4 2010