The marketing campaign urges followers to shake arms with the referee.


A new initiative by the Ref Support charity is calling on grassroots football fans to clap referees onto the pitch when football returns after the lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his timetable on Monday to bring England out of lockdown. Amateur soccer teams can compete again from March 29th.


Referees Association Chairman Paul Field believes a referee’s life will be lost to abuse in the future after Premier League official Mike Dean received death threats after two red card rulings

Ref Support launched the “Give The Ref A Hand” campaign which will hopefully end the hostility some grassroots match officials receive on a weekly basis.

The charity’s CEO Martin Cassidy spoke to Sky Sports News about the positive goals the initiative is trying to achieve and urged everyone involved in grassroots football to reflect on the negative impact that threatening behavior and language can have on amateur referees.

Cassidy also offered up-to-date examples of professional arbitrators who were viewed as targets of abuse.

Jose Mourinho


Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho says “something must be done” about the online abuse that sports professionals have been receiving lately

“Now that the government has announced that we can all get back to what we love – play football – I think that with all the negativity there has been, we got to the Mike Dean incident and Darren Drysdale happened to just want to be. ” able to try to turn those negative events into realignment events and turn them into a positive outcome, “said Cassidy.

“It’s called ‘give the referee a hand’ campaign. We want all clubs at the grassroots level or above to clap the referees back and give them just one hand on our first weekend to make football positive for everyone.

“Let’s come back [after lockdown] and make the game better together.

Grassroots football resumes on March 29 (PA picture)

Grassroots football is slated to resume on March 29th

“We’ve talked about it for a while now and kept it under the radar. We’ve talked to a lot of clubs, a lot of leagues, and nobody said no.

“The only thing anyone said is, ‘The FA didn’t tell us about this.’ This is our chance as a nonprofit to say, “We will take responsibility for this. The national governing body has its own challenges.

“Let’s take responsibility, let’s do something to make the game better.”


Former Premier League umpire Mark Halsey shares his experience of abuse while serving as an official and expresses his condolences to Mike Dean after receiving death threats.

Cassidy also highlighted how amateur referees can face those who have abused them in everyday scenarios.

“With some things that happen in grassroots football, referees come across these people who have threatened and abused them. They are in the local supermarket, in the local pub, on the school run,” he added.

“Let’s all just take a little step back, recalibrate, and see what we’re actually doing.

“Does it work, does it improve our game, what are you shouting at people?”

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Kick It Out is the football equality and inclusion organization that works to combat discrimination, promote inclusive practices and promote positive change throughout the football, education and community sectors.


Steven Gregory