AT what is a difficult time for everyone, Cork referees’ chairman Eddie McNally has stressed that good health must be the most important factor for the coming months.
“For many referees, they are in it for the love of the game and yes, there are some in it for financial gain, so yes, referees are now down income at the moment, like a lot of other people, but no price can be put on your health,” he said.
“We were made aware that the leagues were shutting down last Thursday and although it was disappointing, as we in the Cork branch had secured a number of appointments for the FAI Junior Cup and Intermediate Cup, reality hit.
"You realise the seriousness of the situation and then sport doesn’t become the most important issue.
“In saying that, obviously there are a lot of setbacks now with regards to referees.”
It will be like pre-season again for referees when the season returns, especially with most gyms closed.
“As with our group training that takes place twice weekly we have had to cancel that also,” said McNally.
“As a referee society, the Cork Branch have monthly meetings and with our March meeting cancelled, it is highly likely that the April meeting will also have to be postponed.
“As part of a referee’s yearly licence, each referee needs to attend two lecture modules and one seminar, and at the seminar each referee has to do a physical test and a written test.
“Physical tests are different for each referee grade from Grade One to Grade Four, and this seminar was due to go ahead on Saturday, April 18.
“With the current situation, we do not know if this will go ahead, while also affected this year is the branch AGM which takes place at the beginning of May.”
The Premier League has announced it will be April 30 before it is back up and running.
“Hopefully we will be back before that. Will league games just be finished and cup games scrapped for the season? Who knows. What we will do is work with the local leagues to help accommodate the leagues in finishing their relevant leagues to the best of our ability.”
The FAI ran a beginners’ course last November and recruited some new referees.
“This stoppage isn’t great for the lads,” said McNally.
“As chairman of the Cork Referee Society, I would like to thank all referees, players, coaches, managers, and league and club administrators that, in these hard times, are working in the health services and on the frontline putting their own health at risk for the sake of others.”