Belfast Telegraph

Irish League officials need support to improve

By Scott Young

A League of Ireland official, Paul Tuite, took charge of the massive Danske Bank Premiership game between Crusaders and Linfield on Saturday and that's a damning assessment of our referees.

The Northern Ireland Football League decided to overlook our refs for this match which was effectively a title decider and you've got to wonder why.

A League of Ireland official also took charge of the Cliftonville v Linfield Irish Cup quarter-final at Solitude, which was a huge game.

What does this say about the standard of refereeing in our game?

It tells me that our refs must do better but they also need to be supported and encouraged.

It's important that they are not driven away from the game.

We don't have an abundance of officials so we cannot live with a situation where more turn their backs on the job.

What is important is that they are assessed correctly because if that's not the case, their performance may not improve.

I think the Irish FA and NIFL are to be applauded for using refs that aren't from Northern Ireland but their biggest focus must be on improving what we have.

If the Irish Cup final is handed to a League of Ireland referee, then what will that say about our officials?

Belfast Telegraph


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