The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has issued a statement in support of Football Australia’s stand for safety and respect for all participants in Australian football.
Football Australia acknowledged concerning trends among match officials, with 40% of registered match officials lost to the sport annually. That equates to around 4,200 leaving their roles at all levels of the game.
Football Australia CEO James Johnson said: “Despite the growing participation in football and the success of our national teams, our base of 11,000 officials has not expanded since 2011.”
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According to Johnson, the conduct of parents, coaches, fans and players has significantly contributed to the loss of registered officials.
“This environment is unsustainable and contradicts everything we stand for,” he said.
“Our National Code of Conduct and Ethics, which applies across all levels of the game, is designed to combat such challenges, ensuring that football in Australia is enjoyable and safe for everyone involved.”
Speaking in support, the APL’s Independent Chair, Stephen Conroy said: “The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) supports Football Australia’s call for a unified stand for respect and safety across Australian football.
“Match officials play a vital role in all levels of football and APL is committed to working to improve the culture surrounding them at the League level.”
In regards to recent events involving match officials at A-Leagues matches, Conroy said, “APL is unable to comment on Football Australia run disciplinary processes stemming from recent events, however, clearly we don’t condone poor behaviour towards League match officials who should be able to work in a safe and respectful environment.”