THE chairman of the Borders referees branch has said verbal abuse towards officials is getting worse, as the number of yellow and red cards dished out last season reached a 21-year high.
In total, 1,375 cautions were made during 2011/2012 year by Border Amateur League referees, with 129 sending-offs.
Both statistics are up on the 2010/11 season, and compared with 1990/91, yellow cards have jumped 139 per cent and red cards 115 per cent.
Referees’ chairman Raymond Hume, who was chosen as linesman in last season’s Scottish Amateur Cup final, told last week’s Border Amateur League AGM that incidents of dissent were on the increase.
He told TheSouthern: “The worrying aspect is dissent – it is getting worse.
“We seem to have had it under control two or three years ago, but it has come back.
“If a player is booked for mistiming a tackle then fair enough, but dissent should not be accepted by coaches.
“However, the coaches do not seem to be telling the players that it is not acceptable to abuse referees. The touchlines are also guilty of it, and often when they start the players join in.”
Hume said the number of whistlers’ reports on misbehaving managers was down, but added: “I have had a lot of referees phone me after a game to tell me about a problem with a manager or coach.
“It comes from the top of the game. Players see referees being sworn at on TV and think they can get away with it.
“It has to be sorted at the top of the game first.”
Figures from last season also showed that 1,091 players were registered with the BAL last term, almost 300 more than in 1990/91.
Meanwhile, three new teams joined the BAL following last week’s AGM. Gordon return after a season’s absence, with former Selkirk and Gala Fairydean striker Craig Livingstone set to help coach the side.
Biggar have also been admitted, but will play their first two seasons at Peebles.
And Galashiels now has four amateur teams with the addition of Abbotsford Albion.
All three new sides will compete in a 12-team Division C, which means Duns Amateurs and Selkirk Victoria escape relegation from Division A and Division B respectively, despite both finishing second bottom of their leagues.
East Lothian side Winton have been promoted to Division B after Tweedmouth Amateurs decided to pull its first team out of the league.
Rab Meikle will remain as match secretary, and BAL stalwart Colin Campbell was elected as secretary and treasurer.
The new season is due to start in mid-August.