Football Federation Victoria (FFV) is promoting the green shirt program as a vital part of a new referee development, education and retention initiative throughout leagues across the state.
The green shirt program recognises that new referees of the game need the support of the soccer community as they begin their refereeing careers.
The program aims to change behaviours towards new referees and encourage clubs and spectators to treat them as just a referee and provide them encouragement and respect.
FFV referees manager Luke Brennan said for local competitions such as the Albury Wodonga Football Association, retaining these referees is of utmost importance and it is equally vital that everybody involved in the game plays their part.
“Green shirt referees are new referees who are learning their trade, but just because someone is a green shirt referee, it doesn't mean that they are a bad referee,” Brennan said.
“Coaches, players, referees will make mistakes and they should be given a chance to learn from these mistakes without abuse and problems.
“Referees face abuse far too often and that abuse is one of the key factors in driving referees away from the game.
“Green shirt referees will be given a green card to introduce themselves to the coach and explain the meaning of the green shirt program.
“All referees need to be afforded respect and given an opportunity to learn, football is about development for everybody.”
The Border’s NPL outfit Murray United has also shown its support and signalled its commitment to the new initiative.
The same program has had success in other codes, including the AFL.