Each year up to 40 per cent of Canberra soccer referees leave the game and W-League ref Delfina Dimoski says enough is enough as she asks for change in the sport.
Her post last week, about refereeing four ACT NPL matches across 24 hours due to a shortage of referees, garnered more than 600 likes on social media.
Typically a referee will officiate two senior matches a weekend, however, Dimoski said because of officials leaving the game in droves due to abuse, this was not the case.
"In a 24 hour window no one would expect any players to play four games in that space and it's a lot physically," the 29-year-old said.
"On average in an NPL middle you're running between 10 to 13 kilometres. If you're on a line, you run anywhere between five to nine, depending on how quick the game is."
Each year the rate of referees leaving the game is about 30 to 40 per cent according to Capital Football. CF chief executive officer Phil Brown said the number one reason they left was abuse, and the biggest challenge was retaining them.
"The majority of abuse of referees doesn't happen on the field and it's not players, it's usually by parents, spectators or sometimes coaches and team officials," he said.
"It needs to be an all community approach so it's not just Capital Football, or the club committees, it's also the parents and coaches on the sideline that might see some bad behaviour, that they don't walk past it.
"Respect campaigns aren't going to solve the problem. The thing that solves a problem is people taking action."
Dimoski is one of the most capped W-League assistant referees and balances her job as a public servant with multiple days of training a week, something she said people were often surprised to learn.
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She said the culture needed to change towards refs but acknowledged it was not an ACT specific problem, it was Australia wide.
"It's not just showing up on a Saturday morning with the whistle and referring a game, there's all these little elements that go behind it," Dimoski said.
"It's all well and good to sit there and point a finger but I think more people should come and get involved or talk to a referee about how they can be more supportive and start facilitating a very different conversation."
She said over her 12 years of refereeing, there were many times she had heard parents screaming at a junior referee.
"We are all stakeholders in the game, we're all involved in the game because we love the game, and we need to work together so everyone gets the enjoyment out of their role that they're playing.
"So we've got to work out mechanisms to try and support what we have, and fostering and keeping the ones we have is the big thing."