PROUD dad Andrew Worthington watched on as his teenage son took to the field to start duties as a newly qualified soccer official.
But his pride quickly turned to shock when he witnessed an adult soccer fan verbally abuse his 14-year-old son Marcus during an under-13s game.
Mr Worthington's anger was further compounded when the following week, a coach from a Sunshine Coast club had a go at his son, accusing him of being biased in his rulings.
"Not only was he abusing the young referee in full hearing range of his players and parents, but this coach didn't even have his accreditation tag on," Mr Worthington said.
Fortunately young Marcus, who is also an under-14 rep player for the Sunshine Coast Fire, was resilient enough to appropriately handle both incidents.
"I think they don't see the youth in the kids," he said.
"They just see them as an official and they think it's life and death when in fact it's youth sport. It's like their ego is on the line.
"They become this monster that thinks somehow they are playing the World Cup and the only person stopping them from winning is the officials."
Mr Worthington said people had been standing by and allowing this type of behaviour to occur in many sporting codes across the Coast and the time had come to deal with the problem.
"If (kids) see an adult abusing someone in charge, regardless of their age, they might think it must be okay to give their teacher cheek or talk back to a police officer," he said.
"There has got to be a spin-off effect and that's what concerns me."
The issue of bullying on the field has resurfaced around the world after an American soccer referee died following an on-field altercation.
A 17-year-old player punched referee Ricardo Portillo, 46, from Salt Lake City, in the face by being handed a yellow card for a foul.
Why do you believe adults get so angry at junior sport events?
This poll ended on 07 June 2013.
There's not enough training for officials
They want the best for their kids
They want their kids to succeed where they failed
They're just pathetic
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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