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Abuse of referees, officials and players from all sports to be heard at Oireachtas Sports committee – Dillon

9th November 2021 - Alan Dillon, TD

All sporting organisations in the country will be invited to the Oireachtas Sports Committee to give their experiences of abuse towards referee, officials and players and discuss what is being done to counteract it.


Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon, a former Mayo senior footballer, will write to all the country’s main sporting organisations to send representatives to the Oireachtas committee to outline the  major challenges faced by referees, officials, players, participants and others in the various fields.


The decision comes as soccer referees in the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) and Metropolitan Girls League (MGL) withdraw their services this weekend due to “constant abuse” and “threatening behaviour”.


Deputy Dillon said, “The accounts of what referees had to endure and suffer last weekend is terrible. Referees are as important as players – they are integral to games. No official should feel threatened, scared or face constant abuse for trying to assist in sport.


“No matter what level someone is participating in, abuse of officials, and indeed anyone  involved in sport, is completely wrong and totally unacceptable,” Deputy Dillon said.


“On the back of what happened, I will be writing to all major sporting organisations in the country so that we can hear directly of issues and challenges they face.


“I will invite them to send who they deem best to communicate what is going on in our playing fields, sports venues and organised events across the country – be they officials, referees, players, participants, coaches – at a future meeting of Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media.


“Sport can provide so much to any participant no matter what level or role they play. The first encounter for most is at a young age and sport can equip us for so much in our later lives – in a personal and professional level. Respect, leadership, teamwork, discipline, inclusion, reward for hard work, comradeship and so much more. The value of sport cannot be underestimated.


“Whether it is through future campaigns regarding respect for referees, players, managers, parents, guardians and officials or educational courses, we have to address this.


“We can look at what all sporting organisations are doing and benchmark what we deem to be the most appropriate or best approach.


“Our participants in all sports are our role models into the future. Those who facilitate them have to be guaranteed a safe, respectful and enjoyable environment. It will be to the benefit of all and I look forward to hearing from all in the near future,” Deputy Dillon said.

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