‘Let’s help each other’
JERSEY FA’s new chief executive has vowed to improve the lives of football referees from next season, through a concerted effort to increase widespread understanding and reduce ill-discipline.
Jean-Luc Desbois, who replaced Neville Davidson in the top post last month, believes greater co-operation between players, coaches and officials is required to make the game more enjoyable for all. He has already spoken to a handful of Island referees, but stresses that support also needs to be offered to players and club volunteers.
‘From grass roots up, it’s literally every single person connected with football that we need to try and help and encourage,’ he said.
‘I’ve already started talking to the referees and I believe we can have better discipline in the game all round, but we [the JFA] need to support the players as well. We need to change the mindset a little bit and when I say that I mean it goes back to this dialect with the clubs and letting them know what is acceptable and what’s not. If you’ve got a manager on the sidelines screaming his head off at the ref, it just transcends on to the pitch and obviously if some people end up getting abuse then you can see why there are not as many people coming forward these days.’
He added: ‘I’ve seen some of the work already that is going on at junior level with referees and if I look at it as a kind of poacher turned game-keeper, when I played sometimes you’d give a referee some stick but you realise the good work they do and they need to be supported.
‘I know that probably sounds like “yes we’ve heard that before”, but I think if we all engage and all have a common goal here, we can improve the state of football in terms of the discipline side and then encourage more people back into the game.’