Subiaco are encouraging greater respect for referees by getting their junior players to officiate at ALDI MiniRoos matches.
Players from the Smarter Than Smoking junior leagues are rostered to take charge of games as part of a club-run Football Against Verbal Abuse Referee Program.
And the club is delighted with how it is going.
“It has been really positive,” Subiaco liaison Jenny Palmer said.
“It has been great to see how they interact with adults and their parents.
“Parents don’t want to get roped in to referee and doing this teaches the youngsters responsibility.”
The teenagers have to attain an online laws of the game certificate before they are allowed to take part in the program.
“Then they get quite an easy under-8s game to referee,” Jenny added.
She said the in-house FAVA program sees Subiaco use a Football West-qualified referee to monitor their junior referees.
“(He) patrols the MiniRoos matches across our five pitches,” she said.
“He monitors them during their games, provides feedback at half-time and full-time … and provides written feedback to our junior referees which helps them better understand the areas they can work on while celebrating their strengths.”
A problem for all football referees is dealing with spectator abuse and Jenny says the club explains before matches that they are running a program and that the officials are junior players.
Football West Manager Referees Eddie Lennie said: “Football West is happy to support this program and delighted that the club is working towards the respect of match officials at all levels of the game.”