Merseyside Youth Football League cancel fixtures after 'threatening behaviour' towards officials

ITV Correspondent Tim Scott was live in Liverpool

A junior football league has cancelled all fixtures this weekend "following multiple incidents of inappropriate and threatening behaviour" towards the league and match officials.

Merseyside Youth Football League said it had to take the 'drastic action' after discussions with the committee members and match officials.

It means all matches due to be played on Saturday 15 October have been cancelled.

One player for JJ ProActive Under-9s said: "I've seen people kicking each other and swearing at the refs because they've given a bad decision."

Another added: "People were shouting at the manager because they didn't do what they thought was right for the team. It was a bit scary to be honest."

Officials say the incidents took place on Saturday and "in the weeks since the season began" and they aim to now "work with the relevant authorities and respective clubs to ensure those responsible are held to account".

It has called a meeting which it says all clubs "must attend", threatening any who do not with "no fixtures from our league".

The league is home to more than 100 ranging from under-7s to under-17s.

Martyn Percey, Welfare Officer at JJ ProActive, said: "I think ultimately it is a negative effect on kids. You see them demoralised as they go on.

"That's not what we want to be encouraging in our environment."

The post on social media has had a mixed response since the statement was posted on Saturday evening.

One Twitter user said: "I understand the need to get tough if there has been severe cases of abuse.

"But I genuinely don’t understand what the total ban is looking to achieve? You’re punishing the majority who adhere to the rules and conduct properly.

"Surely you punish those responsible. What is the aim?"

Another replied saying: "Those saying that others shouldn't suffer because of the few... well that's life.

"Laws and rules are very often put in place because the minority spoil things for the majority. I'm fully behind the decision."

The statement concluded by saying: "We do understand that cancelling all fixtures may seem unfair and we sympathise fully with the majority of our clubs/teams who do things the right way and create a positive environment for the children and officials."However, we cannot allow this toxic behaviour to continue to escalate, we have always been proud that our league doesn’t have a lot of abuse etc., yet currently the number of incidents and the severity of incidents are rising weekly. Enough is enough."

It was signed by Stacey Savage, the Merseyside Youth Football League Secretary.

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