Referee voices frustration over rejection

MULTI-SPORT referee Henri Moreels has officiated soccer games for 22 years, but a growing disturbance with Football Wagga has him at breaking point.

Concerned for the development of junior referees in the region, Moreels yesterday revealed his frustrations after his application to join Football Wagga's referee branch was rejected without "reasonable" explanation.

As president of the Wagga Football Referee's Association (WFRA), Moreels insists there are upwards of 30 officials on the the fringe of admission, while inexperienced referees are forced to officiate multiple soccer games every weekend.

"This is not a gripe for me personally, we have got some really good junior referees in the pot but no one's helping them out," he told The Daily Advertiser yesterday.

"We've got 30 experienced referees in the wings waiting to come back in, but we've applied to joining the group and we've all been declined.

"We were told we are unsuitable, but we're suitable enough to referee school games and branch championships."

The WFRA was the controlling referee organisation in Football Wagga until it was overturned in favour of the new association in 2009, and currently officiates school soccer competitions.

Struggling to understand why his application has been refused, Moreels insists his main concern is mentoring the up-and-coming referees to a suitable standard.

"Someone needs to start mentoring these juniors," he said.

"Sometimes they'll be in control of three or four games in a day and by the time they get to first grade they're exhausted, they miss things, and the standard is just rubbish.

"I know a lot of people in Football Wagga, players, coaches and managers feel the same way."

Moreels insists he has appealed to Football NSW and Football Federation Australia with no response, but all he wants is to improve the standard of Football Wagga.

"If we were allowed back in, that's not a problem, we'll gladly go back and referee," he said.

Football Wagga executive officer Donna Baker did not return phone calls for comment yesterday.

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