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A new campaign has encouraged players and fans at grassroots level or higher to clap referees out onto the pitch when football return to "give them a hand" and "make football positive" for everyone.
The charity Ref Support, who aim raise the quality, status and benefits of refereeing for the good of its members and in the interests of the game, have created an initiative called 'Give The Ref A Hand'.
In a bid to stop the hostility some grassroots match officials receive on a weekly basis, people have been urged show their support.
It comes after Boris Johnson's latest lockdown announcent.
The Prime Minister confirmed that amateur football will return from March 29 onwards in his roadmap plan to ease coronavirus restrictions.
Martin Cassidy, who is the CEO at Ref Support, has asked those involved in the grassroots game to 'think about the negative impact threatening behaviour and language can have on a referee'.
"We just want to be able to try and turn these negative events into refocusing events and turn it into an outcome that is positive," Cassidy told Sky Sports.
"It's called the 'Give The Ref A Hand' campaign. We want all clubs at grassroots level, or higher, to clap the referees out on our first weekend back and to just give them a hand to make football positive for everyone.
"Let's come back [after lockdown] and make the game better together.
Cassidy brought up the incident involving Mike Dean, who received death threats following West Ham's draw against Fulham after he sent Tomas Soucek off - as well as Darren Drysdale.
He wants to "turn these negative events into refocusing events and turn it into an outcome that is positive."
He continued, saying: "We've talked about it for a while now and we have kept it under the radar. We've talked to a lot of clubs, a lot of leagues, and nobody has said no.
"The only thing anyone has said to is, 'the FA hasn't told us about it.' This is our chance as a grassroots-focused charity to say, 'we're going to take ownership of this. The national governing body has got their own challenges.
"Let us take charge, let us do something to make the game better."
Possibly the most ridiculous thing I've seen today!
- Simon Lester (@SimonLester24) February 23, 2021
Thoughts on the initiative?
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