Respect the Match Officials
Ahead of the remaining County Cup Finals, we caught up with our Chief Executive Kevin Shoemake, and Referee Development Officer Keiran Forrest who would like to send out a message to all those taking part, whether as a match official, club official, player, or spectator.
Kevin reminds us that “as well as the two finalists, there is also another important team participating in each of our County Cup finals”. Each of our 14 teams of officials have worked hard to gain consistent recognition and feedback in order to have been selected for one of our prestigious Cup finals.
“These finals represent the pinnacle of officiating within our County FA. All of the officials have shown tremendous commitment and hard work over a difficult period and have earned their selection to represent the County FA” Keiran expressed. We are also pleased to be able to feature two matches with a family connection as the Patrick and Strumidlo brothers officiate in the Saturday and Sunday Vase respectively.
Rightly, and proudly, the appointed officials represent all of our 1,200 match officials – whether that is in the middle, assisting on the line, or as a fourth official.
To show the level of commitment and hard work the officials have produced, the selections have taken place after consideration of performances over the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons. Keiran confirmed that “the selection panel is combined of County FA staff and the Appointment Officers to our competitions, and the finals provide a unique opportunity to assess the official’s performances”. It is an extremely proud moment for the panel to provide referees of all levels across the County FA their rewards for the past three seasons.
Aside from the County Cup final appointments, it has been widely documented both locally and nationally that, with the rapid growth of teams wanting to play post Covid, there has also been a substantial rise in indiscipline both on and off the pitch. “We do not live in a perfect world and everyone on the day of the final might make an honest mistake – whether that’s with team selection, formation, tactics, a stray pass, a mis-timed shot, or a fumble” Kevin states. As with the officials, the 28 finalists represent the 5,100 teams and the 77,000 registered players within the region, so it is imperative that each final is played in good spirit, with fair and honest endeavour with the best team proving successful on the day. We hope to see everyone playing their part in making it a spectacle to remember for the right reasons, whilst respecting the match official’s decisions on the day.
The County Cups are also the culmination of another season and this comes with a massive thank you to all the dedicated volunteers at our 1,200 Clubs and 55 Leagues – without whom there would be no football each week of the season. Kevin continues “as we look forward to a break and then into the 2022/23 season, I ask that everyone takes responsibility for their own actions and improves on and off-field behaviour to reduce indiscipline next season”. As a County FA, we want to continue growing the game we love whilst protecting the rules and respecting the laws of the game.
Kevin closes the message by congratulating “each official on their performances to date and their appointment which forms an important part of their journey to a fabulous career”.