Speaking on Claire Byrne Live on Monday night, young referee Harry McCann detailed the shocking abuse which he suffered while officiating a U15 game at the weekend.
"I referee three to four games a weekend," said the 20-year-old.
"An incident occurred and all hell broke out; parents, spectators, players, managers all reacted."
The invective came McCann's way as a result of a decision he made on the pitch. When the management of one team refused his instruction to leave, he was forced to abandon the game.
It was a serious amount of abuse from everybody around me. It was one side in particular, the other side didn't have an issue at all.
The two comments that sparked it off were a player calling me a 'fucking faggot' while walking off the pitch and then a manager called me a 'fucking cabbage' which was quite an interesting statement. Both are obviously very serious.
I had to abandon the game and it was mainly due to adults on the sideline who couldn't remain calm.
Management wouldn't leave so the game was abandoned. You are supposed to have control but I am 20 and the adults are significantly older than me. They don't like being told to leave after being aggressive or abusive. It's quite a tough situation to be left in.
You can ask them to leave and you can insist that they do; if they don't you have to abandon the game and that ruins it for the 22 kids on the field.
"As I walked off the field, there were people saying that they'd wait for me in a car park afterwards," added McCann.
"There were people being very, very aggressive and coming up quite close and personal. It does happen and it's happened before and it continues to happen across the country."
Youth ref Harry McCann discusses the abuse he receives at matches pic.twitter.com/7l1BWI3hiW
— Claire Byrne Live (@ClaireByrneLive) April 1, 2019
Despite the abuse, he says that he will continue to referee games.
"I love the sport. If I'm not there, the match doesn't go ahead. There's a shortage of officials across the country. Funnily enough, people don't want to be abused on a football pitch by adults.
"I want to be involved in the game and I want the kids to have a good time. By going there, I allow that to happen. There's far too many bad situations recently and that needs to be highlighted.
"I've submitted a report and the hope is that disciplinary action will be taken and that these people won't see a sideline for a very long time.
"I'm down for fixtures on Saturday morning. I'll be back on the pitch."
Picture credit: Sportsfile