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Francesca Catchpole: Why I Referee?

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Francesca Catchpole is a Norfolk-based referee who qualified when she was a teenager.

Francesca Catchpole: Why I Referee?

Francesca Catchpole is a Norfolk-based referee who qualified when she was a teenager and has balanced both playing and officiating in recent years. She has been speaking to Norfolk County FA about her refereeing journey and experiences.

How did you get into refereeing?

"I have been involved in football for many years and in my youth, I was known to be a bit of a pain when it came to challenging referees about decisions, this prompted me to complete the match official course at the age of 14 in order see football from another perspective."

What do you enjoy about refereeing?

"The most enjoyable thing about refereeing has to be working with people that you wouldn’t necessarily work with in day to day life and learning certain life skills from a wide spectrum of individuals I also enjoy watching people succeed - scoring a good goal, making a good tackle, saving a goal and refereeing gives you a front row seat for this."

As a match official who is still playing tell us how you work around that and how this benefits you.

"I am able to work around both officiating and playing by designating specific days for each, for example, during the weekend a Saturday is designated to officiating and a Sunday is designated to playing, along with this I have days in the week that I train and days which I officiate enabling me to have an even balance of both."


Francesca Catchpole wearing a headset used by Match Officials.


What were the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?

"The biggest challenge I have faced in my career would have to be the time after rupturing my ACL and having to undergo reconstructive surgery. Whilst I was not able to play or referee for fifteen months refereeing enabled me to become active again sooner within the game as the contact element from playing prohibited this.”

What is your biggest achievement as a match official?

"My biggest achievement so far as a match official is being appointed as an assistant referee on the Mummery Cup final, the Norfolk Primary cup final as well as receiving the Rising Star Of The Year award for officiating within the same season."

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a referee?

"For someone thinking about refereeing I would say that being a match official is extremely rewarding in what it can offer allowing you to develop vital life skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership which can be transferred into everyday life. It allows you to make new friends at all age groups as well as a way of keeping fit."

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new trainee referee?

"The one piece of advice I would give to a new trainee referee would be that every match is a learning opportunity both in terms of the good things and the not so good. You are going to make mistakes, everyone is human, but I can guarantee that the players on that pitch are going to make a lot more mistakes than you."

To find out more about upcoming Referee Courses please click below. If you have any questions regarding Refereeing in Norfolk then please contact Norfolk FA’s Referee Development Officer, Harvey Newstead on