Should I join the Referee’s Association?
A question asked many times, what does the RA do for me?
Think about it for one moment, less than One match fee for the whole season whilst refereeing.
A real-life experience of the importance of being a member of the Referees’ Association.
It was another typical weekend full of refereeing obligations, we think nothing of it, prepare our kit, accessories, boots and off we travel to our fixtures. My Sunday league match in the Wolverhampton & District Sunday Football League had been called off so I decided to step in and help cover an under 13’s match locally between Trysall Tigers v Sporting Khalsa. It kicked off, after 4 minutes and 50 seconds, I do not remember much, other than falling and looking towards my leg. It was pointing in the wrong direction, at the wrong height. I knew it was broken, I remembered the crunching sound and then the snap. The coach from one of the teams said, “we knew it was broken, we all heard it”. I was in the middle of the pitch, screaming in agony!
I haven’t been able to fully watch the video footage of the incident, but I am side stepping, nothing dramatic, not full out sprinting, just sidestepping and all it took was for my foot to fall into a divot before my life has literally changed for many months to come. The paramedics that attended were fortunately in the area at the time of my accident but were unable to administer morphine as I was cold, and my veins were collapsing leaving them no choice but to them straightening it into the brace using gas and air. The pain was indescribable, I was hospitalised for 5 days, I’d broken both bones in my leg as my ankle completely dislocated the pressure then rested on my Tibia and Fibula. The consultant has confirmed it was just a freak accident. My point is it could happen to any of us, unlikely, but it could.
Support from the Referees’ Association
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge our Chairman Phil Reade, his support has been nothing short of immense during this time. He has been in regular contact with me, offering an empathic ear, advice, and support regarding the RA’s accident insurance and how the benevolent fund may be able to support me should my personal circumstances warrant it. I’m a professional, I work for a national organisation, in 20 years of my career I’ve always had 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay, however, after returning to my old position I accepted updated terms and conditions and was horrified to discover I am now entitled to 1-month full pay for each year worked there (up to a maximum). I’ve been back in that post less than 2 years! This placed a considerable stress and pressure on me financially given the consultant had suggested approximately 9 months to full recovery and approximately 4 months no driving.
I have been lucky to have the support of the RA, I thank Phil in my mind almost daily for promoting membership of the RA. I was awarded £500 for the bone injury payment, my entire kit (2 pairs of shorts, socks, and boots) all cut off by the ambulance crew have been reimbursed, I am entitled to £200 weekly whilst I am unable to work as advised by my consultant/GP. I am in the process of arranging physiotherapy sessions through the insurance (up to 5) as the NHS physio is going to take up to 4 weeks to get an appointment and I’ve been advised by two medical professionals physio is vital at the earliest stage to avoid muscles and tendons shortening. This will no doubt be of great help and support in aiding my rehabilitation. All the benefits are listed in the Referees’ Association Brochure. The help and assistance I have received from Spencer Hayes Group has been first class. Bill Hudson was my first point of contact in dealing with my claim, but I must give a special mention to Paul Bentley for his expertise and knowledge in dealing with my claim. I will always be truly grateful for your help.
After some reluctance due to not wanting to feel like a charity case, I applied to the Benevolent Fund offered by the Referees’ Association, describing my financial circumstances due to work new policies etc and I am so grateful that I will also receive some help from them too, which will ease the pressure off paying my mortgage etc whilst I’m unable to work.
After this horrific experience, I would urge any referee to join the Referees’ Association, personally, I would even be keen to pay extra and have a higher level of insurance as you just never know when you might need that financial assistance. It’s been an incredible help and support both financially and emotionally.
Thanks again to everyone who donated at the last Wolverhampton Referees’ Association monthly meeting in January, I can honestly say it made me cry when Phil arrived at my home with a little tub of money for me, flowers, and a card. I’ve been visited and sent flowers, donations, and cards from both teams who I would also really like to thank them for their concern and well wishes, it really meant a lot, especially on that fateful day for all the support from the parents, particularly the parent who let me rest my head into his chest whilst they straightened my leg!
Finally, Join the Referees’ Association, it’s a great support!