New measures to protect young referees from growing abuse in grassroots football has been launched in West Yorkshire.
This season, referees under 18 in the Huddersfield Junior League are wearing purple shirts in the hope that players and spectators will think twice about using insults and intimidation.
The initiative has been developed to give a visual aid to clubs, managers, players, parents and spectators that the referee is under 18 and as such, still a minor.
Figures from the FA state that four-in-five young referees claim they have faced verbal abuse and nationally 80% of young referees walk away from the game within two years.
Young referees claim they have faced verbal abuse.
of young referees walk away from the game within two years.
The aim of the 'purple shirt' scheme is to decrease abuse and increase support for young referees, with the intention of retaining young referees.
David Hirst reports: