Local referees put off by acts of violence The Chairman of the Coventry and District Referees' Association chairman John Starkey has spoken out after three assaults on referees in local Sunday football.//'); //]]>Mr Starkey said to the CT: "Unfortunately in football everybody has got an opinion about the referee's decision, whether it's a match on TV or in the local leagues."I have been involved in recruiting referees in Coventry for 26 years and it is increasingly difficult to get these matches covered."There may be some people out there who think they're not good enough but they are the only ones we have."What we have got to do is look after the referees we have got and treat them with respect and not go down this route."These incidents have been traumatic for those involved but they will also feed this back to others which may put them off."The incidents concern two cases of referees being slapped in the face and a case of a referee being shoved violently in the chest.Mr Starkey's comments have the backing of the Coventry based National Referee Association which told the CT through their Secretary Arthur Smith: "Players who assault referees should never be allowed to put on their boots again."These referees are going out to enjoy their hobby. We all make mistakes, including the players, and these referees should be able to enjoy their hobby without being subjected to verbal abuse or assaults. "Players, managers and clubs all have a responsibility."