Spartan South Midlands League newsletter – January 2017

Tony Weight, 12 January 2017


Now that we are into a new year, a chance to look forward and to take stock of how things are going.  Below are some key messages for you. Please take note and take action as we move into 2017.


As the season starts to approach the ‘business end’ with cup competitions reaching their later stages and key league matches coming up in all Divisions, appointments will increasingly be based upon marks given to assistants by match referees and club marks given to the match referee. We have built up a considerable database of information and will use that to make appointments to these matches. Cup Final appointments will be based upon those marks, but also on commitment and availability.


Please do yourself and the League a favour by closing dates as soon as you know you are not available. If you do not, then Mike Desborough will take it that you are free and give you a game. Recently, when monthly appointments have been published on Full-Time, referees are assuming they will not get a game if they are not down to do a game on a particular date and are closing that date. The odds are strongly in your favour that you will get a game on that day, so make yourself available, don’t close the date.


Some of you will know this has been causing a few problems. However, we now have a clear set of guidelines from the Football Association. If you are appointed to a County Senior Cup, this takes precedence over all SSMFL matches. If you are appointed to any other county competition, appointments to Premier Division and Division 1 take precedence. If you are appointed to a Division 2 or Development Division match, other County Cup competitions take precedence. So bear that in mind when appointed to a game on the SSMFL. If applicable, close the date with your County if you are appointed to a match on the SSMFL which takes precedence. Please do not forget to do this.


We have had a number of occasions when some officials have not been appropriately dressed for matches on the League. Please remember to dress in collar and tie and trousers/slacks. Track suits, polo shirts, ‘T’ shirts jeans and trainers are not permitted and match referees will report officials not dressed properly.


Please make sure that substitutes wear the new respect bibs, which are a nice shade of pink, to avoid any colour clashes!! They should be worn by the substitute at all times, unless of course they come on to the field of play.


Please note that the electronic copy of the Match Report Form must be sent to Bob Flight at If you run out, Match Report Pads are available from myself, from Charlotte at Beds FA or from Mike Taylor (details in Pool Handbook). The form must be completed by hand immediately after the match, white copy to home club, yellow to away club and green copy kept by referee and then sent electronically.


This confirms the best practice arrangements for adult referees officiating on SSMFL matches with young officials under the age of 18. As you all know, the FA rules allow qualified referees from the age of 16 to officiate on adult football leagues.

For travelling to matches where car sharing is involved, best practice advises that a young official should be collected the last if 3 officials are travelling together. Best practice does not advise an adult and young official to travel together where there are just 2 persons in a car.

For changing arrangements, it is advised that young officials should be treated in the same way as female match officials. That is, where there is separate changing accommodation available this should be used. Where there is not, the young official should change on their own, either before or after the adult officials. I am sure we would all agree that these are sensible arrangements. We have 16 young officials registered with the League and Mike Desborough will try to ensure when making appointments that these guidelines are followed at all times. We appreciate this isn’t always possible; where there is doubt please contact the relevant appointments officer.


The League regulation now over 2 years old, requires any official dismissed from the technical area, to go to the clubhouse, his car or leave the ground. Please do not allow any official to remain close to the technical area. Reasons for removal now include unacceptable levels of bad language under the League’s ‘Mind Your Language’ Initiative. WE have had a few incidents recently where an official has been allowed to remain near the field of play.


Please make sure these are used at all times. If boards are not supplied or not used, please report the club.


The latest revision to the Pool Handbook has just been updated and sent to all of you. This contains all details of officials, club officials and other essential information. The Pool Handbook is available on-line at the following address:

The Spartan South Midlands Handbook is available at:


Finally, thanks to all of you for your commitment to the Spartan South Midlands League. It is much appreciated. I hope your New Year resolutions are working out for you. Let’s keep the commitment and professionalism going for the remaining months of the season.

Tony Weight