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Respect the Ref

Marketing & Communications
Match Officials are essential for grassroots football to thrive.

Respect The Ref

Match Officials are essential for grassroots football to thrive.

What’s Respect the Ref?

Every match. Every league. Every championship. It’s the referees who are integral to a smooth-running game.

They work hard, train hard, show up and play hard – all to keep the game beautiful. They give their time and yet face negative attention and abuse in almost every match. Enough is enough. We can all play our part to show the ref some respect, to help make the game the best it can be. So, are you in?

How we support referees

We’re committed to nurturing and developing new referees: 

  • We offer support to our match officials in their first year.
  • The new FA referee course features 90 minutes of online learning on Laws of the Game which is free to do, plus 11 hours of face-to-face training.
  • To qualify as a match official, you must referee 5 games, for which you will receive support from us.


We’re also committed to developing the skills and experience of existing referees:

  • We offer CPD to help you deepen or expand your skills.
  • The FA’s flagship development programme, FA CORE (Centre of Refereeing Excellence) is for referees who show exceptionally high levels of potential and can progress to the highest levels of the game.
  • Through workshops and courses, we can also help you expand your refereeing experience to successfully officiate other formats, such as Pan-Disability football, Futsal and Walking Football.


We’re committed to supporting mental health

  • As a County FA, we have our very own Referee mental Health Champion, Callum Parke. You can contact him on
  • The FA introduced ‘sin bins’ to all levels of grassroots football to encourage respect and fair play. In the 2016/17 season pilot, we saw a 38% reduction in dissent. In fact, participant behaviour improved, with players self-policing to prevent colleagues getting into trouble.

Becoming a referee is not for the faint hearted.

You need to run fit, think fast and be on top of every game. You’ll be in the thick of the action, keeping the play moving and the players, managers, and supporters on side. So, what’s in it for you?

You’ll develop skills that will serve you in all areas of your life. Leadership, negotiation, personal development, confidence and staying power. There’s nothing quite like it.


Over the following week, we will be highlighting grassroots referees within Norfolk. They will be telling us the reasons they love officiating, the positive impact it has on their lives and why you should give it a go.

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