March Town United boss Whaley: FA assessors ‘doing more harm than good’ in Ridgeons League

MARCH Town United boss Brett Whaley has insisted that FA assessors are doing more harm than good in the Ridgeons League by putting referees under “undue pressure”.

Whaley’s comments came after an assessor watched referee Stuart Gillman dish out nine yellow cards and two red cards in his side’s 1-1 draw with Ridgeons First Division strugglers Stowmarket Town on Saturday.

The Hares boss said: “When there is an assessor there, the referees stop using common sense. There were nine bookings and two sent off and there was hardly a bad tackle.

“I wouldn’t want to go to work every day and have a bloke behind me watching everything I do. It’s putting undue pressure on referees and I think it needs to be looked at. It makes an absolute farce of it and it ruins games.

“Referees need to be assessed like everybody does but why do assessors have to make themselves known? Why not just sit in the back of the stand?

“At the moment it’s doing more harm than good and making the referees’ jobs even harder.”

But Alan Young, referee development officer at Cambridgeshire FA, insisted that “the purpose of the referee assessment scheme is to aid the future development and training of match officials”.

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Whaley was incensed on Saturday when Mr Gillman failed to award March what he called a “clear penalty” and instead chose to book captain Luke Pepper for diving.

Ash Brand’s goal in the sixth minute of added time rescued a point for the 10-man Hares, after Marc Welcher had been dismissed for pushing an opponent.

Whaley said: “I’ve been in enough March dressing rooms that would have given up and thought it’s not our day. But we kept going and got our goal and that’s a point we wouldn’t normally have got.

“On another day, without an assessor there and with a bit more luck, we would have won that game.”

Third-placed March travel to Thetford Town tomorrow for the quarter-final of the Ridgeons First Division Knockout Cup.