Of the 20 referees in Football Federation Sunraysia, a quarter of them belong to the Burrows family.

Shane, the current president of the referee association, and brother Roger have been overseeing games at Soccer Park since 1983.

“Back then they didn’t have many referees and the games were refereed by the clubs, with many (referees) not knowing the rules,” Shane said.

“In one game the refereeing was that bad and biased I actually considered giving soccer away.”

It was then Shane decided he would be proactive instead of walking away from the game he loved – and he did his ticket to become qualified.

“The standard of refereeing was so poor and it was frustrating,” Roger agreed.

“I was sure I could make the game run better than that.”

Nearly 40 years later and the Burrows family assist in running a very professional group within the association.

Shane has also been joined at the fold by children Brody, Daniel and Kieran.

Next year, once she turns 13, their little sister Aleisha will join them.

While Shane has given the sport away, adding his body was too broken, Roger on any given Sunday will play a game and referee three, Brody will play and referee, as will Kieran.

Both Shane, and Daniel, who also doesn’t play, typically referee five games each week.

Unlike other leagues locally who are often scrambling for officials, the Football Federation of Sunraysia is well equipped.

And Shane and Roger put that down to the fact that not only are they well renumerated, they are also well supporterd by both the association, each other and the players.

“We used to be seen as a necessary evil,” Roger said.

“But now we get more respect than ever from the clubs.”

Both brothers hope to reach 40 years with the whistle, and even though the milestone isn’t far away, both are still continually learning, tweaking things here and there.

“My philosophy revolves around being fair,” Shane said.

“As long as I can walk off the pitch and know I have been fair, I’m happy.
“And probably one of the most rewarding things that can happen after a game is a player from the losing team can come up and say thanks.”

While Shane said refereeing gives him the best seat in the house, and he’s happy to be involved with officiating games, he said the task definitely isn’t for everyone.”