The North Dublin Schoolboys/Schoolgirls Soccer League [NDSL] has suspended all matches this weekend over concerns about constant, and worsening, abuse being suffered by referees.

In a note sent to all clubs in the league, the NDSL said referees are suffering unacceptable abuse and threatening behaviour from managers, players, coaches and supporters.

Sean Slattery, vice president of the Irish Soccer Referees' Society, told RTÉ Radio 1's News at One that a number of incidents on Sunday proved to be the final straw.

"We were made aware this morning that there were a number of incidents yesterday. With the referees contacting each other, it was decided a lot of them were going to make themselves unavailable for games next weekend," he said.

"It's like it's been pushed too far at this stage.

"The feeling is, there are sanctions there [for unruly behaviour] under the current FAI rules and there's no need for new ones, it's just the enforcement of them is our problem. It's not just in this league, it's nationwide. There's problems in other counties.

"There are sanctions where possible lengthy suspensions could be given out rather than one or two-week bans. This would include players, coaches or managers. Some clubs are also fined but it just doesn't seem to matter. A lot of the time the same names are cropping up.

"There's 550 games affected next weekend on this. When you do the math on that, that's thousands of players that won't be playing. The last thing any referee wants to do is abandon a game. It's the last resort.

"Yesterday one of our lady members was down to referee three games. The abuse was so bad that she walked off after the first game. This would be an experienced official.

"We also had another referee, he's new to game, I think he's only two months doing matches. He finished a game and said he's never going to do another one.

"Referees are on their own. The behaviour of some of the spectators has gone way beyond. It's time for it to stop being accepted."

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