STATEMENT from Ref Support UK into the FA independent investigation into the FA referees’ department and David Elleray
We note that the independent investigation into the current Football Association referees’ department and its Referees Committee chairman David Elleray – commissioned by the FA – has found no first-hand evidence to support allegations made against the FA or Mr Elleray. Those findings, and how they were arrived at, will be for the FA to explain. They are not the views of The CEO of Ref Support UK and we will release our views later after digesting the summary.
However, we also note that the investigation looked deeply into the cultural issues around the referee community and noted that several witnesses did not feel comfortable speaking out about issues in their professional working lives. That should be of great concern to the FA and football authorities.
The FA says that it is pursuing “a reset in the culture of the refereeing group”. Martin Cassidy of Ref Support UK has been invited to participate in that process and will do so wholeheartedly.
Mr Elleray is stepping down as the chairman of the FA referees’ department at the end of the season. We hope that his successor is prepared to take a fresh look at the department and the FA’s role in developing and promoting referees and assistants at all levels. As a registered charity supporting referees, we see this as a key moment and opportunity to make meaningful change.
Ref Support UK has worked with individuals who have given evidence to the FA’s independent investigation and will continue to listen to their views and support all officials, from the grassroots to the select group level. We do not take any funding from the Premier League, FA or Football League and we are the UK’s only independent body fighting for better support for match officials.
We would like to thank Mark Bullingham, the FA chief executive; and Leigh Barnett, of Parker Bullen solicitors; for their work on this investigation and for their willingness to listen.