The government has called for football referees to wear their kit in public when they are off-duty, despite a number of recent incidents in which they have been subjected to verbal abuse.
A memo from the Football Association caused a political storm this week when it advised referees to avoid wearing their distinctive black shirt and shorts when not officiating in a football match as it might cause passers-by to shout and swear at them. Even out of uniform referees are quite easy to spot by the way they run backwards, shake their heads in an exaggerated fashion when they say ‘no’, and constantly fake laughter in an attempt to diffuse any potentially volatile situation. But now the government has urged referees and other high profile hate figures such as traffic wardens and judges to stay in uniform at all times, especially in notoriously violent areas just after closing time.
‘The suggestion that referees should try and conceal their honourable profession is an outrageous slur on the courage and service of our boys in black,’ said Sports Minister Andy Burnham. ‘Every Saturday they put themselves in the middle of highly volatile situations, risking their own safety in the service of our national game. That said, there’s no way that goal against Chelsea should have stood, that ref’s a total bastard scumbag and no mistake,’ he added.
In a separate development members of the public in County Fermanagh were advised against shouting abuse at members of the Irish Republican Army if they see them wearing their terrorist uniform in public.
Team Biscuit and Thackaray