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Respect the Ref: Lorraine Catchpole

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Match Officials are essential for grassroots football to thrive.

Respect the Ref: Lorraine Catchpole

Match Officials are essential for grassroots football to thrive.


We spoke to local grassroots match official, Lorraine Catchpole, about her experiences within grassroots football, the reasons she loves refereeing and why it is vital to respect the ref:

“I got into refereeing five years ago now in 2016 through my daughter. When she turned 14 years old, she always said she wanted to go on a refereeing course. I used to volunteer at Waveney Football Club in the kitchen when they were short (usually when Graham had to go referee a game as they had no referee). This was on a Saturday morning and all the children would come and get their sweets and bacon rolls after Saturday football club, and to see their faces light up if they’d won the star player of the session and they could pick their prize, a bag of sweets was an absolute delight.

When my son and daughter played, I was one of those parents on the sideline thinking ‘how did the referee not see that? And that’s a foul.’ Also helping out in the kitchen, you would constantly hear players coming in saying “We lost that game because of the ref.”

How difficult could it be? So, I decided you can’t complain about something if you’re not prepared to give it a go yourself, so that’s exactly what I did.

I was the taxi driver over to Norwich where the course was being held and as they were always short of referees, I decided I might as well do the course in case they ever need anyone to help out!

I have always been keen on fitness as I used to play hockey at a high level, so I see refereeing as a way of keeping fit. But when you see the children’s faces after they score a goal or make a great tackle or save it’s just very rewarding to think that I’ve made that happen as no ref, no game!

My highlight of refereeing so far has got to be when I was in the middle at Portman Road in the Ladies Cup Final, and to have all my family around me to share it was a very special day.

My advice to anyone considering taking up the whistle would be to give it a go as it’s very rewarding. But don’t get me wrong, there are tough times too which you have to deal with, but you can only ref what you see, (players do think you have eyes in the back of your head).

There’s always someone to talk to and lots of support from fellow referees but I am very lucky in that my husband, daughter and son are all referees so you can imagine what we talk about on a Saturday evening!

But above all referees are human and make mistakes!!!”


To read more about the ‘Respect the Ref’ campaign please click here.

If you are interested in becoming a referee, you can register your interest in upcoming courses in the New Year by e-mailing Harvey.Newstead@NorfolkFA.com.

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