Football referees and membership of the Referees’ Association

The Referees’ Association

The Referees’ Association is an organised group of individuals which are involved with refereeing. It is run by referees for the benefit of referees.

The Referees’ Association is organised into 306 local societies in three different countries in the United Kingdom for the benefit of referees at all levels of the game.

Do referees get paid at all levels of the game?

A referee who oversees a football match at any level of the game within England and Wales will receive some form of remuneration for their services. This effectively means that all referees are professional. The feeling amongst referees as this is the case they should have some form of body in place to look after their needs and to work in conjunction with the authorities in charge of football in the United Kingdom.

Is membership of the Referees’ Association compulsory for all referees?

Membership of the Referees’ Association is not compulsory for all referees across the three countries involved with the Association. The only compulsory requirements for referees to oversee matches in England is that they have undertaken appropriate Football Association courses and are at the specific level which enables them to referee specific football matches.

Are there any benefits in being a member of the Referees’ Association?

The following benefits are enjoyed by members of the Referees’ Association: 

  • Insurance
  • Benevolent fund
  • Local societies
  • County Association
  • National Association


The Referees’ Association operates a low cost Personal Accident Insurance scheme for all of its members. This scheme provides cover for referees whilst travelling directly to and from a game and during a game, whilst on recognised referees’ society business and also for the theft of refereeing equipment.

The insurance policy, however, only covers UK resident members of the association whilst refereeing in the UK.

Benevolent Fund

If for any reason a member of the referees’ association falls on hard times and is having financial difficulties the benevolent fund is in place to provide assistance.

Local Societies

The Referees’ Association runs local societies whereby referees can meet together and discuss different aspects of the game learning from each other to improve their refereeing skills. This provides in house training over and above the training provided by the County Football Association system. This therefore continually helps to improve match day performance.

This ensures that a referee developing his skills at a lower level of the game will be able to meet and discuss a variety of issues with referees who operate at the highest level of the game. This will therefore improve the level of refereeing following the understanding of best practice methods.

County Associations

Local societies within a specific County Football Association area will come together to form a County Association enabling them to discuss matters of common interest. Most County Associations will have a representative on either the Referees’ Committee or the Board or Council of their parent County Football Association. This position is imperative to ensure that the issues faced by the referees at all levels of the game are able to be filtered through the County Football Associations to ensure that change can be implemented.

National Associations

The three Referees’ Association National Associations will maintain a very close working relationship with their parent National Football Association such as the English FA. Matters will be discussed with the National FA on behalf of members to resolve problems. This position is imperative that issues faced by referees at all levels of the game are filtered through to a national level.