Calling all potential officials for the upcoming football season
PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - Football season is just around the corner and the Alexandria Football Officials’ Association held its first meeting for new and experienced officials to prepare for the 2022 season.
There is a shortage of referees across Louisiana, and the main reason is that many officials say they are being verbally abused by players, coaches and fans.
“It is somewhat difficult to do at times,” said Derek Smith, officiate in the AFOA. “It takes a special kind of person to officiate.”
Vice President of AFOA Travis Broussard said he experiences the harsh remarks every game he officiates.
“The first thing we do is call the coaches and ask them ‘will you please play on Thursday because we don’t have enough guys to cover the games on Friday night,’” said Broussard.
If the number of referees stays below their goal, there could be issues on when games will be played.
“If coaches won’t do that, and they insist on playing on Friday, then we try to call another association like Monroe, Shreveport or Lafayette and say ‘hey, do you have any guys available to send up here’ and if they do fine, then the guys can come call the game,” said Broussard. “If they don’t, then the game doesn’t take place.”
There are around 65 referees in the Alexandria area, but the goal for this season is 80.
“I enjoy it, it is fun, it is a great way to get exercise, and a great way to stay connected to sports,” said Smith.
As Friday night lights are quickly approaching, there is hope that games will be played on Fridays as long as there are enough officials to step foot on the field.
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