Officials are being abused unabated, even teenage referees. This is causing a huge disruption to the game and resulting in them leaving it.

The exodus of grassroots football is so large that elite football is now at risk of being impacted by a lack of referees or a decline in the quality of their selections.

It is the Premier League’s treatment of referees that has caused the abysmal behavior of parents, coaches and players in all age and pyramid levels.

It is estimated that the total number of refs in the country has declined from 33,000 to 23,000 in just five years – a fall of one third. This situation has been made worse by the Covid pandemic. Courses have been cancelled, and it has stopped the recruitment of referees.

Yet, young people still want to be part of the club. A University of Portsmouth study found that 93% of refs had been abuse, which is significantly more than the other European countries. This suggests English football’s problem.

Dutch referees are just half as abusive than English at 51% 

Grassroots referee Satyam Toki was punched three times by a player after sending him off

Satyam Toki, the Grassroots referee was punched by three players after he had been sent off

Martin Cassidy is the chief executive officer of Ref Support UK, and was a former FA referee coaching coach. Cassidy thinks that abuse is often overlooked.

“Some referees feel they won’t be able to play in big games if the report is made, or they reported it before and it was ignored,” he stated.

Cassidy encourages referees sharing videos of any abuse that they suffer and has amassed an astonishing collection.

Two films show both players kicking and punching officials on the ground and can be seen in their descent.

Cassidy said that one of the matches, which was filmed in London, did not feature an assault report from the referee. Another was a 2018 match in London between two Turkish sides. The referee pursued the other and struck.

Cassidy stated that the cup final at Wood Green’s New River Facility was played by two teams representing the Turkish Community Football Federation. No player was penalized.

The third video is of the third referee getting poked in their eye by a player after he was sent off for a game in south Midlands league.

Another clip shows Satyam Toki, the Hackney Sunday League referee, repeatedly hitting him in his face last year.

Met Police issued a caution to the offender and banned him from FA activities for ten years. However, he appealed the decision and the ban was cut to five.

Toki, 29 years old, stated that it was not surprising that so many referees have left the game. Sportsmail. “The abuse is becoming more severe.” They think that they are able to do anything they want.

Toki's attacker was banned by the FA for 10 years but this was halved to five on appeal

Toki’s attacker had been banned by the FA from Toki for 10 years. However, this ban was halved upon appeal to be reduced to five.

Toki (pictured) suffered a cut above his eye - he is still refereeing one year and still gets abuse

Toki (pictured below) sustained a severe cut just above his eye. He is still refereeing for one year, and continues to get abuse

“I don’t really know why I’m still doing this, to be truthful,” said Toki, the father of one. Like many refs, Toki does it as a hobby and earns £45 per game, but the shortage of officials means some clubs are offering £65 in London for a Sunday morning match.

“I believe it will continue until some very serious event happens on the pitch like a referee being seriously injured. It is impossible to predict what might happen.

Some FAs in some counties are frustrated with the lack of enforcement and many officials have little faith that abuses will be addressed.

One senior referee, who is more than 50 years old, stated that for every case that has been reported, there will probably be two or three others that need to be. Sportsmail.

The referees may be too scared, or believe that no one is capable of doing anything. We only see a small portion of what is possible.

Starting at age 14, referees are eligible to officiate. This could lead them into a professional career, which may take them to the EFL/Premier League or beyond.

Leeds United were charged by the FA after players remonstrated with referee Chris Kavanagh after he awarded a penalty to Chelsea in the last minute of their match at Stamford Bridge

The FA charged Leeds United after Chelsea players protested against referee Chris Kavanagh’s decision to award a penalty in the final minute at Stamford Bridge.

However, even children in England don’t get to enjoy the country’s parks or playing fields. Teenagers are often abused and assaulted every weekend.

It’s not surprising that dropout rates in youth football are high.

Last weekend, 85 youth soccer games in one Midlands County were played without an official referee. Matches at Step Five were also missing officials, which is one lower than the Southern League.

Question: “What proportion of teenagers aged 14-16 years old lasts more than two years? He asked the veteran. “I am happy to be at the end of my career.”

There are several clubs across the country that have appealed to FAs to manage parents, coaches and fans in an effort to stop the departures. However, despite numerous initiatives, there seems to be little to no impact.

Paul Field (President of the Referees’ Association) stated, “Clubs play a huge role in maintaining referees.” Clubs must take responsibility. It is essential that they take this into consideration.

Crystal Palace and Aston Villa were charged with failing to ensure that players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion following their game at Selhurst Park, which Villa won 2-1

Crystal Palace and Aston Villa were accused of failing to make sure that the players behaved in a orderly manner following their Selhurst Park game. Villa won this match 2-1.

Grassroots refs believe what happens in the Premier League has a huge influence on parks

Refs from grassroots agree that the Premier League’s decisions have a significant impact on parks

Where children are verbally abused and bullied, many referees – and their parents – believe the matter should be dealt with as a safeguarding matter, rather a disciplinary issue, so that coaches are held to account.

Young refs are one of the most alarming aspects of the entire problem. Some areas give them armbands, while others have different colored socks and shirts. This is to emphasize that they’re minors.

‘We are identifying young referees… to say they are children, but they are still being abused. Is that acceptable for the 21st Century?

Field wants to see the FA centrally take over refereeing, instead of leaving it up to county associations where results can differ.

One mother was spoken to by SportsmailTwo teenage boys are her referees in London’s local leagues. The lads of her are often abused, and even pushed about by coaches and adult players.

Mother, who is reluctant to identify herself as she worries about the impact it may have on her son’s career in refereeing, stated that young refs are not supported and treated poorly if they don’t get help.

Millwall and Bournemouth were fined by FA after a clash between in Championship last month

FA has fined Millwall & Bournemouth for a Championship clash last month

She said, “Sooner than later a child will be assaulted,” “It has never happened to my sons, because I am there.

“Abuse is an epidemic. You can find it everywhere. It is everywhere.

“It will eventually end up with less people doing that.” Already there are shortages. The FA is not equipped to handle this situation. If you file a complaint, the FA will issue a fine to the club. And the coach may be expelled the week after for abusing another referee.

“You must go with them, they’re not safe.”

According to the mother, she had dropped her son of 14 years at a match and then left to go with her second child. She was attacked by the teenage boy 10 minutes after she left the game.

Grassroots matches are struggling to find referees as they leave the game and a lack of courses due to the Covid-19 pandemic means they cannot be replaced

As referees leave grassroots matches, they are finding it difficult to find them again. The lack of Covid-19 courses also means that they can’t be replaced.

She said that six adults were shouting at him from the pitch. I approached them and inquired, “What the hell are you doing?”

They were screaming at an inconsequential outcome.

Last month, at an U9 match the mom had to again step in.

‘There was a six-foot four-inch man on the sideline, who was the coach, shouting, “this ref is dog s****, I’m going to give him negative points.”

“My son has 14. He’s learning how to play the game. This is the reason why players have started to play better. I made it clear to him that the referee, who is minor, was my point. He asked me why a man of his age shouts at a fourteen-year-old so loudly. This is unacceptable. It is unacceptable.

Northumberland: Teenage referees went on strike last week in protest against the abuse they receive.

Referees officiating at children's matches can be targeted by parents and coaches. (File photo)

Coaches and parents can take advantage of referees who officiate at child’s matches. (File photo)

A 14-year old official from the Northumberland League, who was present in the match with Newcastle City Juniors less than one month ago, was subject to ‘toxic abuse’

BBC spoke to the mother of the boy, who said that an adult had screamed at him, that a player called insults at him, and that grown men had made demeaning comments on the touchlines. These players were aged 11 years.

Northumberland FA is investigating and Newcastle City Juniors is looking into the claims.

Kent FA wrote an open letter to all clubs, parents, supporters, coaches and players earlier in the season, asking for respect from referees.

Nick Dunn was the county’s referee training officer. He said that officials in the county were hospitalized and an adult player punched a teenager official.

Two qualified referees were fired by Mr Dunn and two trainees because they had received verbal abuse.

In England, 93 per cent of referees report abuse, much higher than the Netherlands (file photo)

England has a higher rate of abuse than the Netherlands at 93% (file photo).

Unfortunately, there is a history of abuse against referees. After gamblers took advantage of referees to steal their money, 1863 saw the closing down of all football facilities.

2008 saw the FA introduce the Respect campaign. This encourages clubs to properly treat officials in the face of growing concerns about bad behavior and abuse. The Respect campaign is well-known in amateur football but the Premier League missed an opportunity to implement it.

According to Dr Tom Webb of Portsmouth University, ‘The Premier League did something else, they had different branding.’ It doesn’t reinforce the message and kids don’t get it. Whole game concepts should not be changed.

‘[The shortage of referees]This is a serious problem, and Covid only made the situation worse because the FA had not been able the recruit the necessary numbers,” said Dr Webb. Webb coaches an under-13 team, which has been given one referee to home games. It is becoming a common sight every weekend.

Referees are refusing to officiate at some amateur games because of the abuse they receive

Some amateur games have referees refusing to officiate because they feel abused.

Webb states that referee support varies between counties and leagues. Clubs found guilty of abuse by the FA are fined up to £100 for the most serious offences and players can be banned.

Sanctions can also be imposed by leagues. The Young Elizabethan League in Nottinghamshire has a traffic light system that identifies serial offenders clubs and can be removed from competition.

England still trails the Netherlands. An external agency runs an abuse hotline. It links reports with discipline and Dr Webb claims it has been successful. Ref Support UK in England runs an abuse hotline, but the FA does not promote it.

Referees' Association would like to see the FA take responsibility for refs centrally

The Referees’ Association would like the FA to take central responsibility for all refs

Referee groups want to see body cameras used in order to prevent bad behavior and to gather evidence. This would need to change the rules of the game. It would also have to be approved by IFAB internationally, which is not a possibility.

Rule 5.5 states that’referees’ and other “on-field” match officials cannot wear jewellery or other electronic equipment.

Ref Support UK is of the opinion that football authorities don’t want ‘body cameras’ as they could improve player behaviour. They also would cut off an important income stream, which comes from fines and yellow cards for players. The FA do not release figures but it is estimated in the Covid-affected 2019-20 the income was around £8M.

There is also the issue of negative influences from top flight managers and players.

Webb stated that there is strong evidence to support the idea that the highest ranking players have an influence. “Officials believe there is a connection between bad behaviour and positive behavior.” [in the Premier League]What happens Saturdays and Sundays? [in the amateur game]The next week, or so.