DCU Dóchas Éireann have launched a new ‘Respect the Ref’ video to highlight the abuse that referees face on a regular basis on the field.
The video was the brainchild of the Head of Gaelic Games, Paul O’Brien, who gave the committee the creative licence to put it together as they wanted.
The video is timely with a number of high profile incidents of referees suffering abuse around the country coming to light over the last couple of months.
In Roscommon referees opted to take strike action after well-known official Kevin Naughton was injured in the early stages of an U17 fixture between St Aidan’s and St Dominic’s in Ballyforan.
There have also been similar instances of abuse and assault in Wexford, Tipperary and Kerry, with the County Board in Wexford handing out a 96 week ban to a mentor who assaulted a referee at the end of a Junior Championship match recently.
With fixtures resuming in the last couple of weeks for the club, they are reminding players, management and spectators to respect referees at all times.
“What we’re trying to do is highlight the abuse towards refs because constantly we’re hearing of people on social media cyber bullying, criticising and using words at will so that they can demean and dehumanise others,” club committee member Conor Brennan says.
“What we’re asking people to do…and it is more challenging today now with modern technology…is to be respectful in the words that you use.”
“That’s one of our main aims for our video.”
“Abuse doesn’t come from one direction so it shouldn’t come from the other.”
The video shows what Brennan describes as a ‘role reversal’. Rather than the abuse coming from the spectators and players, it comes from the referees and umpires.
Cork man Conor Corbett who is in DCU’s Sigerson squad is heckled at by the umpires after kicking an effort wide at the start of the video.
“It’s actually quite clever that we’re reversing the roles because people wouldn’t generally see the ref, the umpires or any match officials giving abuse,” Brennan says.
David Sweeney who is a Games Development Officer with the club also features as the referee in the video. Sweeney has experience in the area as he takes charge of fixtures in Dublin.
The video ends with the officials and players shaking each other’s hands in a respectful manner and with those involved getting out the message of ‘Give Respect, Get Respect’.
Irish International sprinter Mark Smyth was tasked with videoing and editing the clip and has received enormous praise from the committee.
DCU Dóchas Éireann already holds referee training courses and plans to hold more in the coming academic year.
Image Credit: DCU Dóchas Éireann Twitter