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Beattie makes call for full-time referees
ACCRINGTON Stanley boss James Beattie has warned the livelihoods of footballers and staff of lower league clubs are at stake if more full-time officials are not introduced.
The former England striker’s caution comes after Kayode Odejayi’s contentious red card at AFC Wimbledon prolonged the rock bottom Reds’ wait for a league win this season.
Beattie believed Stanley were set for three points at Kingsmeadow after taking the lead through Odejayi in the 17th minute.
But the striker, on loan from Rotherham, was sent off in first-half stoppage time for an off-the-ball incident with Jack Midson.
Stanley received a statement from Midson defending Odejayi, which they presented as part of their defence in their appeal against the sending off.
The decision was upheld by the Football Association, prompting Beattie to urge English football’s governing body to provide more support and training for match officials to minimise incorrect decisions which he fears could cost jobs.
Only referees who officiate in Premier League games are full-time.
“In the initial challenge it was Kayode that got caught with an elbow, and basically we’ve put it down to him being sent off for being elbowed in the face,” said the Reds boss.
“If that’s the way it is, that’s the way it is. But I believe the refs need some help. Maybe they need extra funding to get proper training, maybe that’s where the FA need to step in and maybe put more money towards giving them more training.
“I know most of these guys have day jobs and it’s maybe a little bit unfair to then put them into a situation where they’re taking control of a game where people’s livelihoods are at stake.
“It (a football game) is a cauldron of pressure and if these guys are not trained to handle it and they’re not getting enough backing or enough training from the FA then as I say it’s a little bit unfair on them.
“For the amount of abuse and stick that they get maybe they just don’t need it in their life, but if they were trained properly and adequately they could probably handle it a bit better.”
Beattie added: “During the week these guys are solicitors or plumbers or whatever – they’re part-time referees and they’re put into an environment where it’s my job at stake, it’s the players’ livelihoods and it’s full time.
“You’ve got the fans who save up all week to go and support their team, and these guys (referees and officials) are chucked into that situation with minimal training. I think they should start integrating more full-time refs and making it a full-time job.”
In the meantime, Stanley will be without Odejayi for the next three games, starting with tomorrow’s visit of Oxford United, after a failed appeal against the former Barnsley striker’s dismissal.
“We’ll sorely miss Kay,” Beattie said. “He’s been imposing himself on games recently and people now can see the reasons why we brought him in and we’ll miss him terribly.
“But there’s a squad of players in there who I believe can get us out of this trouble that we’re in.”
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