A YEAR ago we told the story of local grass-roots football referee Steve Hatch and his son Jamie to highlight the ongoing problem of abuse towards match officials.

Since then, both Jamie and Steve's other teenage son, Liam, have hung up their whistles - Liam, 16, after being assaulted twice and Jamie, 19, due to the levels of dissent towards him. And Steve, from Blackfield near Southampton today reveals he toyed with becoming a rugby referee "as they are treated with respect."

The Hampshire FA have already dealt with 22 assaults on referees and 16 abandonments since July.

As a result, and in the light of high profile incidents involving referees and other officials, the Daily Echo relaunches our Respect the Ref campaign.

For full story see today's Daily Echo.