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Boldmere St Michaels release statement over former Wolves midfielder Karl Henry's comments on referees

Boldmere St Michaels have distanced themselves from comments made by junior coach Karl Henry over the standard of grassroots referees.

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Karl Henry at Boldmere St Michaels

In the wake of controversial refereeing mistakes in the Premier League, many of which have affected Henry's former club Wolves, the Boldmere St Michaels junior head coach took to X, formerly Twitter, to condemn the errors.

He then also criticised the level of officiating he sees at grassroots level, labelling it as 'disgusting'.

Henry had plenty of replies, both negative and positive, and replied to many football fans with different views and following that, his club released a statement distancing themselves from the comments.

It read: "Boldmere St Michaels Football Club are aware of the debate caused by the comments made by Karl Henry regarding junior referees.

"We would like to take this opportunity to reassure anyone with concerns that these are Karl's own comments/views and are not those of Boldmere St Michaels Football Club."

Henry's long X post read: "I’ve been coaching grassroots football in Birmingham for the past three years. Let me tell you, the level of officiating is disgusting.

"In my experience, 80 per cent of grassroots refs are power hungry do-gooders who are either intent on showing everybody who the boss is for 90 mins or are completely incompetent and unfit for the job.

"From the Premier League down to grassroots, an overhaul is needed. The criteria for young refs at grassroots level needs to be higher. If the standard was higher, refs would command more respect.

"At the top of the game, it’s exactly the same. Refs provide a service. If the service is poor, expect criticism. The level of mistakes in the Premier League by PGMOL refs is, as Arteta said, embarrassing!

"I’ve always been a huge advocate for former players being involved. Too many refs lack the understanding of nuanced situations on a pitch. Of course, some get some unfair stick but in the best league of the biggest sport in the world, the standards need to be higher.

"Retrospective apologies from the PGMOL are worthless. Do better!


"1. Get former players in to help educate referees. Yes, ‘educate’ them. When you have played professional football for 10 plus years, you have an understanding of the game far beyond somebody who hasn’t.

"2. Create a panel to independently review the performances of referees. This must be independent of the PGMOL. This panel would be made up of former refs, managers and players and would be responsible for promoting and demoting referees on a weekly basis.

"3. Raise the bar for referees at grassroots level rather than simply protecting their incompetence. Millions of pounds of investment would be required from the FA to go into better educating young referees and reviewing their performances. Make it mandatory that any team recording a match send a copy to the league for possible referee review.

’4. Start a national referee Academy for those serious about become professional refs. Football clubs pump millions into producing young players via their Academies. The FA could do the same for young referees. Select the best young refs in the country to go into full time scholarship programmes at 16 where they’re developed as referees to hopefully become the next batch of professionals.

’The PGMOL is an old boys club who are somehow pulling the strings in the best league in the world.

"It’s time for a change.

"And by the way, going back to grassroots football, the other 20per cent of referees I’ve experienced have been excellent! Firm, but fair, great communication throughout games, authoritative figures who commanded respect and had a good understanding of the game. Unfortunately, they are tarred with the same brush as the completely incompetent 80 per cent."

In a separate post, Henry added: "5. Remove unofficial linesmen from grassroots football and let referees make the call to the best of their ability.

"This will stop arguments and fighting between teams as 99.9 per cent of parent/coach linesmen in grassroots football are cheating scoundrels. Everybody knows it and everybody does it.

"If it’s tight, the ref will probably favour the attacker, if it’s obvious, he calls it.

"The is ZERO value in having parent/coach linesmen in grassroots football!"