MEMBERS of the Cork branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society have been instructed not to officiate Carrigaline United matches at Ballea Park until further notice after a recent incident in a youths game.
The ISRS Cork Branch said the match official was verbally abused and threatened which led to the game last weekend being abandoned and informed its members on Thursday not to cover games in Carrigline.
The Carrigaline club is one of the biggest in Munster and fields teams in every league in Cork, from the Cork Schoolboys League up to the Munster Senior League. Not every referee is in the Irish Soccer Referees Society but only officials in that body can cover Munster Senior League matches. Games in other leagues at Ballea Park can be officiated by non-branch members.
The statement began: "We are writing to you following a recent serious incident that occurred in Ballea Park, Carrigaline on Saturday night 25th February 2023, while one of our colleagues was officiating a Youth match.
"Without going into too much detail, due to ongoing investigations by the appropriate bodies including the Cork Youth League, we feel we have to act immediately in the best interests of all our members. Our colleague, in the performance of this role of officiating the match, was subjected to criticism, verbal abuse and threats."
The ISRS explained: "We feel we have to act immediately to protect the wellbeing and safety of our members from any and all future incidents, and also to put all other clubs on notice that this treatment and abuse match officials (at all age groups in all levels of grassroots football) by players, coaches, officials and spectators is totally unacceptable."
The FAI responded when contacted to state they would be investigating the issue while condemning abuse of officials.
"The FAI is aware of the decision taken by the Cork branch of the Irish Referees Society and will investigate further before deciding on any next steps.
The Echo has also contacted the Cork Youth League and Carrigaline United for their views.