Parents and grassroots football volunteers were given the chance to learn more about the art of linesmanship at a special open meeting.
The Melton Referees Association hosted an information evening for club assistants to improve techniques and knowledge in a bid to lessen criticism and abuse while running the line.
The evening was led by member referees Phil Baker, Adam Brierley-Lewis, Kevin Carter and Simon Baker who answered questions on the laws of the game and provided demonstrations to improve interpretation and understanding.
Phil said: “Our branch feel providing this information to local clubs will defuse any comments from opposition teams when they see an assistant running the line, and in turn provide a better atmosphere for players and spectators.”
The evening covered basic points from offsides, flag techniques and the role of an assistant at corners and throw-ins, to how to handle abuse and the question of coaching while assisting.
Phil added: “The negative was the low attendance from an area where football is so active, but those who did attend were grateful for the information passed on and are now eager to put their new-found knowledge into practice.”
The Melton Referees Association is one of the few remaining groups within Leicestershire and Rutland to meet regularly.
Their meetings are held on the third Sunday of every month at the Toy Soldiers’ Bandroom in Wilton Road, Melton.
They cover points of development both locally and nationally, changes to the laws, and offer a chance to discuss experiences with colleagues of differing grades, ranging from newly-qualified to seasoned referees.
John Brooks, who came through the local refereeing ranks, is now serving the Premier League as well as FIFA.
The Melton meetings are also attended at least three times per season by the County FA Referees Development team to help registered refs to maintain and improve their skills.
The association’s next planned event is a quiz for local club coaches, team managers and officials. Details to be confirmed soon.
* Branch meetings are open to any qualified referees.