This email is in response to the ongoing reporting of incidents involving verbal abuse towards referees; particularly in the Senior and Youth Competitions.

This behaviour is contributing to referees dropping out of the game or refusing to attend certain venues on match days. We remind all participants in SSFA matches (Competition and Mini Roos) that the SSFA takes a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of misconduct and verbal abuse towards referees.

SSFA, and our member clubs, will not tolerate any conduct, either on or off the field, which in any way damages the reputation of the Club or the SSFA. Clubs have a responsibility to ensure their Club Officials, Coaches, Players, and Spectators (including Parents) behave in an appropriate manner towards referees.

Clubs must ensure that all Club Officials, Coaches, Players and Spectators are reminded that they must comply with the SSFA Rules and By Laws (click here) and the SSFA Member Protection Policy (click here) – which includes Codes of Behaviour for Coaches, Players, Parents and Spectators. Club Officials, Coaches, Players and Spectators must behave appropriately towards referees and breaches of the abovementioned regulations, codes and polices will result in disciplinary action being taken against the individual involved and possibly against the Club.

Potential sanctions against Club Officials, Coaches, Players or Spectators include, but are not limited to suspensions and bans on attending matches. Potential sanctions against Clubs include, but are not limited to, fines, bonds and the loss of competition points. Please ensure this message is communicated to all Club Officials, Coaches, Players, and Spectators.

Thank you all for treating this issue seriously.