Referee chief quits after expenses scandal

First published in Sports View

A FORMER Norton referee has resigned as chairman of the Referees’ Association following an expenses scandal.

Nigel Genner and predecessor Colin Harris stepped down from the union which represents more than 12,000 referees last month, following an extensive inquiry which upheld claims of excessive expenses claims at a special rally on the night before last year’s FA Cup final.

Conducted by FA official Barry Bright, the investigation was also critical of the organisation’s structure and pointed to a “degree of elitism” at board level.

The inquiry was sparked by the resignation of Association official Bart O’Toole last July.

O’Toole accused Genner, Harris and fellow board member Eddie McGrath of breaching an agreed combined spending limit of £250 on travel expenses to the rally — which honours the cup final referee — with no allowances for accommodation or meals.

Instead the inquiry found Genner, who at that time was the Association’s treasurer, had put in a claim of £476.66 which included travel, a hotel and meal for six people. The trio’s total claim came to almost £800.

He eventually repaid the money but the inquiry noted: “Overall we question whether spending the equivalent of 59 members’ annual subscriptions on three board members attending the rally was an appropriate use of funds.”

Genner, who refereed in the West Midlands League, served on the board from 2004 and been treasurer since 2010. He was appointed chairman in July.

The report was also highly critical of the board’s financial practices and overall performance, noting expenses claims were often made without supporting receipts, while outdated computer equipment was also used.

The Association’s new chairman, Albert Astbury, said: “I have never come across such a dysfunctional committee.”

Mr Genner was unavailable to comment as the News went to press.

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