Donegal is facing a chronic shortage of referees and young new officials need to be recruited.
That was the stark message to emerge at Tuesday night's Donegal League AGM during a report presented by Con McLaughlin of the Donegal Branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society.
“We (referees) have been out of football for over a year too and referees are looking forward to returning to action,” the former Swilly Rovers and Finn Harps goalscoring ace said.
“The reality is we have a group of young referees but we also have a large number of older referees that are coming near the end of their refereeing days.
“If we don’t recruit a number of young referees we are facing a chronic shortage in the near future.
“I know it is hard to get people to take up refereeing but we simply have to recruit new and young referees. There are currently a number of courses due online and we need to get people to do those courses.
“The new recruits could then referee Schoolboys and Women’s League games and this would take the pressure off the senior panel.”
He also informed the meeting of a recent initiative undertaken by the Inishowen League whereby the league took a decision to pay for the online courses.
And as part of the initiative all clubs were required to recruit at least one person for the online courses.
Despite the shortage of officials, McLaughlin pledged to continue to work with the Donegal League's fixtures secretary Christine O’Donnell.
In light of the Covid-19 restrictions in place he asked the fixtures official to keep this in mind when fixing games and not to ask referees to travel too far from their base.
In relation to the season ahead, McLaughlin said the only information they had received was that they were allowed to referee games again from June 7.
League secretary Nigel Ferry thanked Con McLaughlin for his contribution and said the Inishowen initiative on referee recruitment was something that was definitely worth considering.
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