On behalf of the Committee of the EMJFL we hope everyone is enjoying the new season and looking forward to a successful year, as I’m sure you are all aware we have had several challenges to overcome to get the season up and running, most of which are outside our control, such as WGS and FA Fulltime. I can assure all Member Clubs that we are working with the FA in particular M/C County FA to resolve these problems. However some of the problems we are experiencing have nothing to do with either WGS or FA Fulltime and I would like to bring to your attention some of the steps we are taking to improve the smooth running of the EMJFL
· We are receiving far too many complaints from referee’s regarding manager and in particular parent abuse from the touchline and we will be taking the following steps to irradiate this now toxic issue. If a referee reports poor parent behaviour, particularly verbal abuse of the referee, in the first instance a written warning will be sent to the Club concerned, if we receive a second complaint the team will miss the next two weeks football. We have to protect our referee’s in particular the younger ones, therefore there will be a zero tolerance of verbal abuse to referee’s.
This will also take effect if the report comes from an EMJFL Coordinator, we have to stop this sort of behaviour before it starts having an effect on the reputation of our League. It is the responsibility of every Member Club to take responsibility for the behaviour of managers, coaches, parents and spectators, which presumably is also part of your Codes of Conduct which each Club has adopted as part of your Club affiliation. If the above does not see a decline in poor behaviour we will, however unpopular, take the ultimate decision and remove persistent offenders from the EMJFL
This season has seen a vast shortage of referee’s and we have seen in the first few weeks of the season matches uncovered at central venues. For this we apologise and are working to improve this situation and will hopefully have full coverage at central venues within the next few weeks. We are hoping to run our own referee courses for young people to see if refereeing is something to consider before taking and paying for an FA run course.
There will be more information on this issue in the next few weeks when a date is finalised. We have approx. 150 11 a-side games to cover each week with only around 40 referees available, even with some referees doing two or three games it will leave the League with over 50 games uncovered. Whilst this situation is not ideal we have to continue and the FA rules are quite explicit, “if there is no league appointed referee, both teams must agree on a suitable person to referee the game”, you can not postpone for the lack of an appointed referee. Can I suggest that teams look to find a referee who is willing to do their home games and can become “ Club Appointed”.
We have now finalised the Cup Final dates with Curzon Ashton these are as follows
Under 7’s Sunday 15th May. Under 8’s
Saturday 14th May, Under 9’s
Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd May,
Under 10’s Saturday and Sunday 28th and 29th May
Under 11’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday 2nd, 3rd and 4th June
Under 12’s Saturday and Sunday 4th and 5th June.
There may also be some mid week matches during these dates, more information to follow during the Season. The 11 a-side Finals will again be split between Curzon Ashton and Hyde United on dates that will be announced in due course.
We have introduced 2 new Cup Competitions for each age group this Season. We will be holding the following, FA Primary Cup, The Challenge Cup, The Presidents Cup, The Chairman's Cup, together with the usual JFC Sports Cup and Martin Hett Memorial Cup, the latter two being Divisional Cups, again there will be more information during the Season
I would urge all Member Club Secretaries and Officials to absorb the above particularly on behaviour and make sure everyone at your Club is aware of their responsibilities, 95% of people attending our matches do so in the correct manor but the 5% minority are not only spoiling matchday for other adults but, more importantly for the 11500 children who play in the EMJFL, help us be the first league to take action and irradiate this cancer of grassroots football
Yours in Sport
John Clayton (CEO, EMJFL)