Harlow Referees hear talk on mental welfare

Harlow Referees Club meeting January 2020
Topic “Looking After our Match Officials”

Presented by Lee Markwick (National RA Welfare, Representation & Partnerships Lead)

By Steve Gleeson

IN light of all the Mental Health awareness in football and the news articles on the RA
website and social media channels around Referee abuse, I thought it worthy to invite Lee Markwick
(National RA Welfare, Representation & Partnerships Lead) to deliver his presentation on “Looking
After our Match Officials”.

With a 90% attendance and a perception that ‘Welfare’ only refers to U18s, I knew this would be a
thought-provoking evening.

It was comforting to hear that the RA are there to help, support and give professional and legal
guidance when things do sometimes “go wrong” especially in relation to all types of abuse or being
charged by the FA for a breach of regulations.

Many officials are unaware they must adhere to the FAs Code of Conduct in relation to their own
behaviour. Lee gave us some great tips on the management of players during the game especially
the Caution and Dismissal process and, how not to get drawn into arguments or ‘Banter’ with
players and managers that has led to officials being charged by the FA for inappropriate behaviour
and comments.

There was also healthy debate on U18 officials getting changed in front of adults and our own
Safeguarding responsibilities. A subject many of us had never considered before and, although males
automatically give females the option to change separately we don’t ever think about U18s.

Lee also gave us an insight into the joint-work being conducted with Government Officials and the
FA to help make football an all-inclusive and safe environment for all.

The subject matter of Welfare/Mental and Physical Wellbeing was excellent and opened up some
healthy debates and discussions.

Going forward, Welfare will be a subject we as a Local Association will add as an agenda item to our
Bi-Monthly meetings, along with having our own Designated Welfare Officer as a first point of
contact for our members.

If you would like to attend our meetings (non-RA Members welcome) we meet bi-monthly during
the season on the 2nd Monday of each month at Fairways Sports & Social Club, Diamond House, The
Fairways, Parsloe Road, Harlow, Essex, CM19 4RT.

Please contact Steve Gleeson {Chairman} – [email protected] – 07729 524405

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