Referees’ Secretary Martin Higgins has hit out at abuse of referees during last season in his Referees Committee Report to Convention. Higgins states that one referee was spat at in the aftermath of a game while he is particularly concerned about a number of cases where qualified referees, when acting in some capacity for their clubs, have abused other referees.
In his report, Higgins listed a number of incidents which he felt presented a worrying trend over the last year, including one incident that saw “a new recruit to refereeing subjected to sustained verbal abuse and spat at in the aftermath of a particularly challenging game.”
Another involved an experienced referee “who left the field in a senior league game following sustained abuse from certain club officials and although he returned to finish the game has now quit refereeing as a result,” said Higgins.
He stresses that some club managers and officials need to improve their conduct on the sideline. “Some club officials and managers need to take a really hard look at how they conduct themselves on the sideline. I witnessed some unbelievable abuse directed at some of our less experienced referees in some underage final this year.”
And Higgins added: “There have also been at least two cases that I have been made aware of where qualified Referees (when acting in some other capacity for their clubs) think it is acceptable too verbally abuse another referee.”
Indeed, he feels that cases like this should see strong punishment from CCC.
“I would propose that our CCC treat referees (who are acting as club manager, official etc) who abuse other referees to double the minimum suspensions set down in the Official Guide for such offences.”
The Referees Secretary would also like to see more done by some clubs in recruiting referees. 
“Despite a high profile campaign to recruit new referees in the early part of the year, we only managed to secure four new referee recruits to our Foundation Course.
“Some clubs would need to take a long, hard look at who and what they contribute to our pool of referees.
“In all honesty, we need another 10-12 new Referee Recruits for our 2018 Foundation Course as a significant portion of our Grade 1 Referees are over 45 years old and cannot be expected to carry on refereeing indefinitely.”
However, Higgins is in no doubt that the abuse that referees receive is the biggest obstacle to recruiting referees.
“Most current players who are approaching the end of their careers will  not consider taking up the whistle due to the current level of abuse. The situation is only going to change when those reported are dealt with according to the Official Guide and the suspensions set down are actually served,” he added.
Higgins sis though feel that the officials within the county performed well in 2017.
“As a committee, we were very pleased with the standard of officiating during 2017 with our major finals particularly well refereed, “ he said.