LES Withers is hoping to find some referees to ensure both Tamworth and Northern Inland Premier League football competitions go ahead without interruption this season.
While all the senior football clubs have commenced recruitment and training for the 2013 season, Withers, from Tamworth Football Referees, has been left with ashortfall of whistleblowers.
He’s hoping to encourage older players or retired players or football enthusiasts to fill the depleting ranks of senior referees.
Senior football in Tamworth continues to grow and, with more teams expected to register and an expanding women’s competition, Withers feels that this year may be the first time Tamworth Referees may not have officials on all senior games.
“Last season there were a dozen or more senior games to officiate, meaning almost always someone was doubling up and doing games back to back,” Withers said.
“It’s not easy when the average age of senior refs in Tamworth is over 55 and no wonder most are leg-weary after Saturday football.
“We will be missing Gavin Thompson who has taken on a coaching position with North Companions and will not be available to referee Premier League week in, week out.
“We will miss Thommo. He’s a good referee but loves his coaching too.
“Ian Dallinger who has been refereeing over 20 years struggled with injuries last year and has retired his whistle but I’m hoping he might lend assistance with coaching, training and inspecting some of the junior referees.
“Also Ian Bellamy will be missing from the refs’ ranks this year and a new volunteer(s) will be needed to undertake all the hours of administration work Betty Bellamy provided, organising and paying referees.
“I can’t understand why some players won’ give it a go – ex-players generally make good referees.
“I’ve been refereeing in Tamworth now since 1999 and must say I enjoy it as much as I did when I played football on the Mid North Coast.
“As a player, the after-game celebration or commiserations with your mates was something always to look forward to.
“Refereeing Premier League in Tamworth and the region is great; whether it’s win lose or draw you always get an invite back to have a drink with the players and coaches.
“It’s good to discuss the game and when everyone is relaxed players understand that they make mistakes just as referees do.
“This year, Tamworth Referees will be letting new senior referees register for free in a way to encourage people to join.
“I’m hopeful that we can convince some ex players to join this year and I will be asking that a few female players put their hands up so we can have female referees on women’s games.
“Some new recruits would make a difference and take the pressure off trying to have refs doing multiple games.”
So how many refs does Withers have.
“Nowhere near enough,” he said before Saturday’s trial game between Oxley Vale Attunga and North Companions.
“It’s too easy for players to keep playing these days. After finishing in the Premier League they can go back and play club football and then the Over 35s.”
If anyone is keen they should contact Les Withers (Les@adoor.com.au) or to begin online learning, which is free, go to https://laws.myfootballclub.com.au/ and register.
Any current or ex player will find this very easy and will have the necessary knowledge to work through this online learning very quickly.