Report of alleged assault on referee highlights need for clampdown on abuse in sport - Senator Shane Cassells

Published on: 01 September 2022

Senator Shane Cassells has said a reported alleged assault at a GAA match this week has further highlighted the need for a clampdown on abuse in sport. 
Senator Cassells was commenting after reports of an alleged assault of a referee at a GAA match in Roscommon, the Meath Senator said: 
"This morning we are waking up to shocking reports of an alleged assault of a referee at a GAA match. 
"The time to clampdown on abuse in sports was yesterday and we must take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse in sport going forward. 
“The stats produced by Dr Noel Brick from Ulster University showed that 94.29% of 438 GAA referees surveyed experienced verbal abuse, with 23.06% reporting physical abuse.
“Last night was a reaffirmation of how real these stats are.
“And online abuse is feeding a lot of the hatred that is then manifesting itself in physical abuse.
“Yesterday veteran GAA referee Maurice Deegan (Laois) came out and said that “social media is a curse on refereeing” and is having a major impact on the recruitment of new match officials.
"Our Oireachtas report on the elimination of abuse in sport set out a number of recommendations namely the removal of funding for organisations who breach codes of conduct. 
"This has to be on the table in order to clampdown on the abuse faced by officials, referees and players.

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