New rules are set to come into effect after a soccer referee was injured in an alleged assault in Co Offaly.
Daniel Sweeney underwent a five-hour operation yesterday after being beaten up last weekend following the match in Horseleap.
The Irish Soccer Referees Society met with officials from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) last night to discuss ways to stop people verbally and physically abusing referees.
The society's president Paul O'Brien says they are looking at introducing a tiered system of suspensions.
He explained: "If a referee is assaulted, it's graded on the seriousness of the assault.
"We've agreed to form a working group, and we're meeting next Wednesday actually. We [want] to get the language correct so there's no comeback on this, and we hope to have the new rules implemented then by the middle of January at the FAI EGM.
"At the moment, it's a minimum of one-year [suspension] for assaulting a referee - if we're going to alter that, we have to change the rules."
While no final decision has been made on how long new sanctions would be, Mr O'Brien thanked the FAI for offering "wonderful support and encouragement" in the discussions so far.
Commenting on the injuries suffered by Mr Sweeney, Mr O'Brien said the referee could be looking at up to eight to nine weeks recovery time following the incident and this week's operation.