What do I need to become a football referee?

The importance of the referee

The referee that overseas any football match plays as vital a role as any of the players performing on the pitch. Without the referee the game would not be able to go ahead.

The pivotal role enjoyed by the referee is one which extends down to the lower levels of the game also. The referee is required to adjudicate over the match and ensure that it is played in a manner consistent with the rules of the game. To make sure that the game is played fairly.

However, at the lower level of the game the reluctance for many to become referees or to continue refereeing is having an adverse affect on the game.

Why is there a reluctance to continue or start refereeing?

Being a referee at the top level of the game is seen as a thankless task. No one comments when the referee has a good game and has done their job well. The only time a referee is noticed is when he or she makes bad decision that individuals do not agree with.

At the lower levels of the game this is even more of a thankless task with referee’s often suffering the kind of abuse to make them think twice about continuing to referee. If the number of referees diminishing so does the number of amateur games that can be played across a given day – this is a continuing problem for football at amateur level.

How do I start the process of becoming a referee?

The Football Associations run by the various Counties in England and Wales run courses to train individuals to become referees.

A County FA contact list is provided on the website run by the Football Association. If an individual wants to participate on one of these course it is advisable to contact their nearest county FA to register for a course.

Then what will happen?

The individual will then be provided with details of local courses and dates and venues for these courses. The individual will also receive a registration form, a questionnaire and a request for payment.

Once registration has been confirmed the training venue and the dates for the Basic Referee’s Course will be provided. An individual candidate will also be sent a current copy of the Laws of Association Football (LOAF) and will also be expected to complete a Pre Course Study.

Is there a minimum age for becoming a referee in England?

The minimum age for becoming a referee in England is 14. Individuals will not be able to undertake the Basic Referees Course until they are 14. When an individual as young as this becomes a referee they will adjudicate over games at the low age group.

Will I need to have any form of checks when becoming a referee?

When becoming a referee individuals will often be required to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Child Protection Check.

What is the reason for this?

When starting at refereeing at different levels of the game individuals will often be required to referee games for children under the age of 16. It is for this reason that they must be fully compliant with child protection.

What is the make-up of the Basic Referee’s Course?

The Basic Referee’s Course is made up of the following five modules:

  • Knowledge of the Laws
  • Application of the Laws
  • Examination
  • Probation Period
  • Newly Qualified Referee’s In Service Training

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For more information on:

  • Knowledge of the laws
  • Application of the laws
  • Examination
  • Probation Period
  • Newly Qualified Referee’s In Service Training
  • What happens once I have completed the various training modules?
  • What are the various referee levels within the game in England?
  • How do I move through the various levels of promotion of referees?
  • Will all promotions be done on application by the referee?