Meanwhile, match officials get regular training to ensure they keep up to date with the laws of the game, such as how handballs are sanctioned.

As for new ways to deter abuse, FAS said it will possibly fit referees with body cameras in the future – something that is already being trialled in the United Kingdom at the grassroots level.

Mr Sukhbir Singh, who is a manager at FAS’ referee department, noted that while referees are human and make mistakes, any abusive or violent reaction to that “is definitely not acceptable”. 

The association always urges teams and players to use the avenues available to them to seek redress, he added.

Out of 14 disciplinary cases that the FAS dealt with last year, 10 involved verbal abuse or violent conduct towards referees.

“I think this is definitely something that’s very concerning. However, I think what comes here is also the opportunity to look and see why things have become the way they are,” said Mr Singh, who was a referee himself from 2004 to 2018.

He stressed the importance of match officials being able to address any doubts that players have, in order to avoid them becoming upset.

“Even if we go and ask a question at the customer service counter … if you don’t get an answer that you want, you’re going to leave upset and that may spark something,” he pointed out.

“But if you go to that individual and you ask for clarification, and you get it, you leave happy or you may (be) just like, okay, it’s the way it is. That feeling doesn’t turn into something else.”


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