Referee Stan has crisis under control
SOCCER: Is the referee crisis in Ipswich under control? The Ipswich Sunday Football League certainly believes so and they can now proudly boast an average 86 per cent coverage rate.
IS the referee crisis in Ipswich under control?
The Ipswich Sunday Football League certainly believes so and they can now proudly boast an average 86 per cent coverage rate.
Referees' appointment secretary Stan Paddington deserves much of the credit for this dramatic increase as he has made a personal crusade to get to know every official committed to his league.
"I have made an effort to meet every one of our referees and have achieved this bar one," said Paddington today.
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"I talk to them and try to help, hopefully taking some of their worries away."
Paddington, who also referees regularly in the ISFL, said that his coaxing has paid dividends. "Referees have responded in a positive way and figures from September 2 to December 30 show a big improvement. This is very heartening."
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Most Sundays, Paddington has 60 games in which to appoint referees, from the First Division down to Division 11.
"I am averaging between 45 and 50 officials each week and clubs in the lower divisions, who went a number of years having to referee most of their own home games themselves, are now benefiting," added Paddington.
Paddington has a hard core of 30-plus officials and others who take charge of games when they can.
He has been doing this job for the last seven years and his continuity has played a big part in the big improvements.
"The hardest job is keeping newly-qualified referees happy," added Paddington.
"Youngsters in particular are passing the examination and then finding out what life is like on a park pitch on a Sunday morning.
"It is very easy to give up because of the stick received in the early stages of a referee's life. My 30-plus regulars have come through that and new referees now receive special attention so that they can mature into long-serving officials."
Paddington reports that since a couple of assaults on Sunday referees in September, he has heard of no further serious trouble in the ISFL.
Have players at last learned the error of their ways?
"I will go as far as saying that I think they are starting to understand the position referees are in," said Paddington, who confirms that he enjoys his duties with the biggest Sunday league in Suffolk.
And who is the referee who he has failed to meet up with? It is Keith Soanes from Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft.
"Keith does games for me when he can, but I don't bring him any further south than Orford," said Paddington, who can certainly be proud of his achievements.