Hope you are well.
There is a clear shortage of qualified, registered and active referees in the North West.
This is most acutely seen in the National Volleyball League where we are often unable to appoint two referees per match and, indeed, all too often this season, we have not been able to appoint any referees to some matches. This causes issues for all concerned. Home teams looking for referees when the NVL Panel referees have been appointed to other matches.
Visiting teams are unhappy when they discover an unqualified, non-panel referee is acting as second official, sometimes even as first official. More so, sometimes, when they are connected with the home team. Due to the shortage of NVL Panel referees in the area, this is where we find ourselves from time to time.
First things first. Whilst the above is not ideal, we are where we are. By definition a qualified referee is neutral. I have often seen referees associated with a team subconsciously be harder on "their" team to alleviate any suggestion of bias.
In the Merseyside and Greater Manchester leagues teams often have to officiate themselves. This has seen experienced players take the stand but some are not familiar with the basics of refereeing eg hand signals, controlling the match, being up to date with the current Rules of the Game.
But we can all do something about this!
1. We ran a VE Grade IV referee course in both Liverpool and Manchester last year. Nearly thirty newly qualified and registered referees. Some have dipped their toes into NVL. Some are very active in local leagues. Majority, however, have probably not officiated many matches since they qualified.
2. So, we would like to run further courses in the North West again in the coming months. Would your club have any potential candidates to attend and become qualified match officials? Like players, and coaches, referees have to start somewhere. The Grade IV course is the place to start. Learn the Rules, learn how to score, get practices as a first and second referee within the safe environment of the course and then progress into the local leagues, BUCS and, eventually, into the NVL, we hope.
3. Please let me know if you would have any people interested. We can see the level of interest and try to get one, or two, courses in place.
4. We could also look to do some other things, if there was the appetite from the clubs. For example:
a) we could offer an online teach-in on how to score using the National League scoresheet. This scoresheet is used internationally and provides so much information and support to the scorer, referees and teams!
b) we could look to offer a refresher / briefing for those who are officiating in BUCS and the local leagues but are not qualified, or who have not read the most recent version of the Rules of the Game? Help people manage the games more effectively, provide a better background and knowledge and increase confidence, perhaps.
c) perhaps we could arrange a F2F or virtual update session for clubs ahead of the 2023-24 season and go over any changes in the Rules of the Game, competition rules for NVL (and MVL and GMVA?) and have a mutual dialogue about how referees are going to officiate in the season ahead?
Your thoughts on any of this, and any other suggestions to help improve the overall position of officiating in the North West would be really appreciated.
And if MVL and GMVA could publish and promote on their websites that would be fantastic!!
NW Regional Referee Administrator
VE Grade 1 (National) Referee
12 Views - Last updated: 25/03/23