The most fiercely anticipated league at the moment is the Liverpool Business Houses League.
Not the Premier League but the Business Houses “Prem” and the other five divisions.
The league is constantly being raved about on Twitter and rightly so, with the quality and intensity on show week-in, week-out.
There is no debate that the standard of football and in particular, the Premier, is competing with, if not better than the standard on show in the league pyramid on a Saturday.
In the era of Video Assistant Referees, greed at the very top and multi-million pound TV deals, there is a newfound interest growing at grassroots level with the Liverpool Business Houses at the centre of attention.
Liverpool has been blessed with it’s catalogue of referees that have been consistently in the middle for many years, the likes of Frank Murphy, Keith Jones and the late-Terry Roberts, to name a few, who have been loyal servants with the whistle.
However, there is a glaring issue and that is the lack of support for referees. Recently, those officials in the middle of a LBH game have received support from representatives of the league as they’re falling foul of the absence of assistant referees.
Every game in the across the divisions is played like a cup final, with the stakes so high, every point is battled for and as a result the referees in the league need assistants.
Sadly, it isn’t that simple to implement.
The well-known abuse towards officials in the past is rightly condoned across the board. When you scratch the surface, that may be part of the reason behind the shortage of officials we see on our pitches today.
Even in some cases, we have seen referee no-shows or cancellations, so it begs the question, where will an extra 10-14 extra referees come from and would it mean pulling them away from officiating multiple children’s fixtures?
The Liverpool County FA do have a referee courses launching again soon, for more information click here to find out more.
There has been an increase in the calls for assistants to be introduced into the league which is often lauded as the best Sunday League in the country.
During the Campfield’s 2-2 draw with Mayfair, it was alleged that a goal came through a blatant handball.
Just a week later, footage emerged from Dovecot’s game with AFC Bull as it appeared that Joe Cawley was marginally offside, something missed but would’ve been picked up by assistants.
Why do some Saturday Leagues have them?
Although the players on show on a Sunday could easily go toe-to-toe with those involved on a Saturday, the reason why one has assistants and another doesn’t is simpler, albeit possibly interpreted as unfair.
Saturday leagues form part of the Football Pyramid and the competitions within that structure have assistants appointed for their respective games. This is used as a way of progression up the ranks towards the elite level.
For example, Liverpool’s referee on Wednesday night was Anthony Taylor who is a member of the Cheshire FA and often offers his assistance in Altrincham.
How can action be taken?
There is no real answer for this as changes need to be made across the league with one of those being the introduction of barriers around park pitches.
Some clubs already play with a barrier around their pitch, Home Bargain as well as those who play at Lower Breck and grounds around the city, but it’s only imaginable this change will begin to head into the right direction when barriers are installed.
But it can’t be overstated enough that one of the main problems faced in the game right now is the lack of officials.
Off The Park has approached the Business Houses League and the Liverpool County FA on the topic.