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Desperate shortage of refs.

CHILDREN'S football in Coventry is caught in a vicious cycle of refereeing shortages and touchline abuse, according to a prominent city referee.

Steve Ashby, who has been a referee for seven years, believes many parents pick up their disgusting touchline behaviour because there are not enough referees in Coventry.

"Often when a referee turns up to a junior club match the parents have not had a qualified referee for four or five weeks," he said.

"After that long they almost seem to believe they can shout what they like and behave how they like.

"The benefits of having a qualified referee is recognised by the coaches and managers but not by the parents."

That touchline abuse is in turn adding to the shortage of referees by convincing current officials to hang up their whistles and discouraging newcomers.

During the last two years membership of the Coventry Referee's Association has halved because not enough new blood can be found to replace the stream of outgoing referees.

Mr Ashby who is the city referees' delegate to the Coventry Minor League, believes young referees are not willing to pay the hefty training costs just to be lambasted.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 7, 2008
Words:194
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