HEREFORDSHIRE FA launched its 'See Purple, Be Positive' campaign to coincide with the Junior Boys and Girls League football seasons commencing.

'See Purple, Be Positive' is aimed at improving touchline behaviour and respect towards young referees in junior football.

For the first time this season, referees under the age of 18 took to the pitch in purple shirts, with the shirts acting as a visual reminder of their young age and the protection, encouragement and respect they should receive.

Sean Dipple, Herefordshire FA Referee Development Officer said: “Nearly 40 per cent of our current registered referees in Herefordshire are under the age of 18 and it is crucial to support and retain them so they can develop and prosper as referees.

"We have to understand that they will make mistakes, just like the young players they are refereeing, but this is all part of their development and I would ask that managers, coaches, parents and spectators respect this.

"If anyone has an issue with a new referee, they should contact the County FA.”

To mark the start of the season, staff and volunteers from Herefordshire FA visited grounds to raise awareness of the initiative.

Herefordshire FA CEO Simon Panes along with Chairman Steve Willmot said: “It was apparent from visiting clubs across the county how well received the scheme has been and it was hugely encouraging to see everyone promoting the initiative and taking it on board.

"The atmosphere at almost every game was hugely positive and encouraging from the players, coaches, club officials and parents alike.

"We really hope this continues and the respectful attitude towards match officials spreads into the adult game where unfortunately we continue to see referee’s treated poorly; something which needs to be addressed.

"If you have had a particularly positive matchday experience or have seen 'See Purple, Be Positive' in action, Herefordshire FA would love to hear from you.

"Please contact to share your stories from the opening weekend of youth football."