Surrey Youth League – Respect Pilot and General News

Following is a message from Graham Ekins, SYL Chairman

Hi everyone,

Over the last few weeks I have again been out across a number of Grounds from Mitcham Park, down through Abbey Rangers, and over to CB Hounslow and Whitton Wanderers. The overall impression is that the environments feel friendly and the Kids are enjoying themselves.

The Football

Whilst I can bang on about the Pilot, and a bit of that later, the Football that is played is the reason for all of this.

Since the season started we have held Festival events for U7’s and 2 for U8’s, one being today, the U9’s , U10’s and U11’s have all completed their first small comps, introducing the competitive element to the children gradually.

The older age groups are progressing steadily through cups and leagues, all in all good progress, few problems and everyone just getting on with having fun on a Sunday. A huge pat on the back for all the club’s and organisers who make this happen week in and week out.


When I do travel out to the grounds I try to have a chat with the referees and how they feel about things, so far 100% of all the referees, particularly the younger ones have said, that because we have the visible Pitch Marshalls, that they do feel as though someone is their to help them if it starts to go a bit wrong, they all seem confident and perhaps will have good games more often than note.

My visit to Mitcham was also to meet up with Nick Robinson from the FA’s Sanction Pilot Committee, to have a look at how the Pilot was progressing. We spoke with Matt Westlake one of our Senior referees who conveyed to Nick how he felt that this was a real step forward in providing a supportive environment for referees to learn their skill. He just wished it had been there when he was younger.

To further support this, the following is an email received at the county from a parent of one of our young referees.

To: Tim Lawrence (Surrey FA Referee Manager)
Subject: RE: RE Oliver ******** CRC
Hi Tim

I just wanted to give some feedback re the SYL pilot scheme from my son Oliver who is 16 and has been reffing for 2 seasons now.

Oliver looks young for his age and when he started I think some people thought he was an easy target to put pressure on his decisions. We had got to a point in the first year where we had to stay with him in case of confrontation. He had to put in a complaint in one case. This had put him off reffing older age groups and knocked his confidence.

Oliver has now reffed with the new pilot scheme in place and could really see the difference it made to the whole game. There were a few “oh refs” but only as expected in any game. I think this is a great scheme and really hope it will role out to all leagues as soon as possible.

Kind regards


I can have as many reports and conversations as I like, maybe people tell me what I want to hear, but unsolicited email, such as above, do give me the confidence we are heading in the right direction.

Good Practice and Reminders

A few bits that we have come across that we need to fix:-

  • Linesman acting as Pitch Marshalls – absolutely not, this is not permitted, if there is no Pitch Marshall for whatever lukewarm reason, then it falls to the manager. I cannot now see the reluctance for people to don the High Vis Vest, please encourage people
  • The no standing behind oppo linesman seems to be in the main adhered to, but please keep reminding people.
  • Referee reporting still not at a good enough level, I will be having a purge again on this – REFEREES please ensure you match report every game, this scheme is here for all to participate in, which includes yourselves.

Other News

Surrey Youth League Web Site – We are in the process of having a New Website, a few finishing touches and it will be live soon. I am keen to see if anyone would like to join the committee with the sole purpose of keeping the new site up to date and perhaps have a few idea’s on making the content even better. David Lomax and myself have lots to do, so another pair of committed hands would be great.


I think we have got off to a good start with the pilot, there will always be issues and we will have the odd bad game, but when we have asked every club to deal with a respect breach then you have done so, no questions, no excuses just been dealt with. This ownership is truly brilliant – Thank You.

Around Christmas time I will get a couple of surveys out for you all to ponder and let us know your thoughts on the first few months, keep your eyes peeled.

My job takes me to Europe and I speak with many of my colleagues about the “Madness” I find myself in, well just the other day I was sent a photograph of an “A” Board – In Hungarian, maybe the whole football community has got fed up with this nonsense and we are all joining together.

Lets have a great last month before Christmas, go out there on a Sunday and just enjoy yourselves, but above all make sure the children and those young referees enjoy themselves.

Graham Ekins
SYL Chairman