The first meeting of the agreed working group will meet this Wednesday so that we can get the wording right in what will be the new tiered system for assaults. The more serious the assault, the more severer the sanction. No longer will leagues have the scope & freedom to just impose the minimum sanction of one year.
Before if the league didn’t impose the minimum sanction a referee (victim) had to appeal at a cost of €500 & within 4 days. This will no longer be the case, the referee will just have to report the league to the DCU in the FAI & they will instruct the league to increase the ban.
We are also going to look at how best to sanction abuse of referees, both at games & on social media.
We are going to have a greater say within the FAI so that any issues facing us will be flagged sooner & dealt with. This is some of what was agreed on Thursday, there are other initiatives to come as well.
I know some members feel we should have gone out on strike & indeed I have been criticized because we didn’t. In the past we went on strike to highlight the fact that one of us was assaulted, given the coverage this week I don’t think we could have got much more coverage & had we gone on strike we would have punished the many leagues that have & continue to support us. Had we gone on strike we would also have given our detractors the opportunity to get at us by saying we wouldn’t even give the FAI the chance to work with us to improve safety. I understand people’s frustrations that nothing seems to have changed yet but we have no choice in the matter. There is rules in place within FAI & there is a mechanism to change them.
My objective is very simple, to do my best to ensure the safety of all the referees in the country. My officer board & I chose the path we are on, we have got commitments & actions from the FAI that was unimaginable only last week. It’s just a pity that it took a serious incident like what happened to Daniel to get this from the FAI.
I have just under 2 years left as president, I intend to use this time to keep working for the betterment of society & our members. If people think they can do a better job there is also a mechanism in place to get rid of me early.
I want to thank everyone again for your continued support & trust. This has been an extremely tough & emotional week for all of us but I’m confident that it’s one that we will emerge from even more stronger & united than ever before.