An open letter to all Clubs from Kevin Pringle, CEO, basketballscotland:
As I am sure you are aware, there are a number of challenges arising as we return to basketball following the COVID-enforced break of almost 18-months. We are really grateful for the proactiveness of clubs in addressing these issues and working to find creative solutions. We remain available to support clubs – where that support it is required, please reach out to us.
However, I’m writing on this occasion to ask you, if you can, to help us – or more accurately, to help the game. We need help and support to address one of the biggest challenges we face right now – the lack of referees.
The number of officials had been an issue for some time, but one we were making progress in resolving prior to the pandemic. Unfortunately, more than a dozen referees have stepped away from officiating for a variety of valid reasons and, with no games happening during the pandemic, there have not been the same opportunities available to develop officials to fill some of these gaps.
While we expected a reduction in officiating numbers, the challenge is deeper than we anticipated and there are a number of factors we didn’t foresee that are having an impact. We have a number of officials who are going above and beyond to help us get games played and members of the community are playing their part too, but we know this is not sustainable in the long term.
The shortage of referee’s is already having an impact on both local and national competitions and it is a high priority for us to address this quickly.
This is a problem across all levels of the game and we believe the best way to solve this is working together. Over the coming week we will launch a “Help the Game” campaign, encouraging the wider community to consider officiating in order to help the game. We are asking clubs for your support in identifying people who are willing to support the game by picking up a whistle.
For our part, we are committed to making it as easy as possible, removing barriers for anyone who is willing to help the game and supporting them in a way that works for them. We have moved additional staff time into this area so we can move quickly and take a an individualised, personal approach to supporting willing individuals into or to return to refereeing. We are also prepared to provide the required training and equipment and to do this in a flexible way that works for the individual.
We are committed to linking them to games in an environment where they can learn and supporting referee’s through their early experience (if needed). We are committed to working with the local leagues to support referees find the right level of game based on their ability and experience and to work to ensure games can go ahead.
We are looking for people who want to help the game – that could be someone who has qualified or refereed previously that is willing to cover a game locally every two weeks, someone who currently plays who would like to give it a shot and help out on games hosted by the club, or a student who wants to make some extra cash in a flexible way by picking up a few games each week. Anyone who is willing to support will be an asset.
At this time, we are not looking for the next international referee (although we are always happy to support people with those ambitions) – we are looking for people who can give their time to make sure games can go ahead.
If you have people within your club who are willing to help, we’d love to know about them – if you are able to let us know who they are, we’ll make contact to discuss it directly with them.
If you think your club can play a bigger role in supporting this part of the game, please let us know and we will work directly with you.
If you have other ideas on improving the officiating situation, we’d also love to hear those.
Kieran Lynch will be the initial contact for anyone willing to help so please contact him directly if you think you can help in any way or if you knoantw someone who can.
I would really appreciate any support you can provide in this area.
Chief Executive Officer