Colin Bridgford, CEO of Manchester FA commented:
We at Manchester FA respect the views of our registered match officials. We are aware of the comments in recent days made by Ryan Hampson and will be seeking the opportunity to meet with Ryan as soon as possible to discuss his concerns. However, we are strongly opposed to the provision and promotion of strike action across grassroots football. We at Manchester FA are fully committed to helping provide a safe and enjoyable learning environment for our dedicated referees to pursue a role that they are passionate about. Abuse in any form is not and will not be tolerated in grassroots football.
Manchester FA works tirelessly to ensure that all reported acts of misconduct are acknowledged and investigated thoroughly. We are committed to ensuring that any act of misconduct within the grassroots game is dealt with in accordance with FA Rules & Regulations.
Whilst working closely with our registered referees, member clubs, leagues and The FA to promote Respect within the game, we do accept that there are on rare occasions acts of physical abuse against registered referees. Manchester FA would like to stress that these cases represent an incredibly small proportion of the football played across Greater Manchester over the season.
From grassroots matches involving Manchester FA member clubs/teams, the last two completed seasons 2014/15 and 2015/16 have seen a total of five charges issued for ‘Assault on a Match Official’. During this current season of 2016/17 no cases of assaults on a match official have been reported.
In addition, we have seen a significant reduction in charges relating to ‘Physical Contact on a Match Official’ with only one case being reported, charged and case proven during this current season. This is in comparison to a total of 19 reported cases for season 2015/16, of which 17 were proven.
As stated, abuse in any form is not and will not be tolerated in grassroots football.
Manchester FA Referee Development Officer, Tom Elliott commented:
Ryan is an important member of our Development Group of Match Officials registered to Manchester FA. The overall support that all our registered referees receive from the moment they complete their basic referee course is amongst the best in the country and includes minimising, dealing with and reporting misconduct effectively. This is delivered to our referees in a number of ways, including bespoke on and off-field support which Ryan has been, and continues to be a benefactor of.
During recent seasons through our innovative Manchester FA ‘Fund4Football’ scheme, in which income from discipline is reinvested directly back into grassroots, we have continued to lead change and raise the profile of positive behaviour, with the ultimate aim of enhancing the footballing environments for all of our stakeholders. We look forward to positive dialogue with Ryan in early 2017.
For further information on Reporting Misconduct, please click HERE.