THE shortage of referees in the West Cork League has reached ‘a breaking point’ and clubs are being urged to get involved to stop more games being called off.
West Cork League Secretary John Buckley says the need for new referees in the league is urgent, otherwise more matches will fall by the wayside this season.
The FAI is currently running referee beginner courses this month – both online and blended courses – and Buckley has encouraged West Cork League clubs and former players to get involved.
‘Unfortunately, we are at a breaking point. The referees we have in the league have been doing a great job for a long time, but some referees are considering hanging up the whistle as they aren't getting any younger and have done it for so long,’ Buckley explained.
‘Games have already been called off this season which is disappointing especially when we had no games for so long during Covid. The remit of the league is to play as many games as possible and look for reasons to play games and not for reasons to call off games.
‘The good news is the WCL has been successful in getting back a former referee who took time out and also got a new young referee in his early 20s which is great to see, but these referees will not be enough for games not to be called off.
‘The new beginner’s courses that the FAI is holding this month will be a welcome addition. Hopefully we will have some new names, both male and female, on these courses to serve the WCL.’
Buckley believes that West Cork League clubs have an important role to play in the recruitment of new referees that will ensure games will continue in the WCL.
‘Clubs have to get involved. Ex-players are the key, players who have experience in playing for years in the WCL hopefully will get involved,’ Buckley said.
‘When players finish up playing clubs should, at all times, ask them to consider getting involved in becoming a referee and staying involved in the game in West Cork and experiencing many more good times in the league.
‘The club members are the ones who know who has finished up playing and should immediately think if these former players can help out. A lot of the time, like with volunteers, people need to be asked the question.’
The next online FAI Referee Beginner Course will be held next Monday and Tuesday nights, February 21st and 22nd, from 7pm to 10pm both nights on Zoom. The nearest blended course – self-directed learning followed by a six-hour face-to-face session with an FAI Referee Instructor – will be held in Mounthawk Park, Tralee on February 27th. Those interested are asked to contact any member of the WCL committee or WCL Secretary John Buckley (087-2301045).