Group of Referees

Refereeing Support


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Four Referees clapping at Carrow Road


Referees smiling after a match

Referees Associations & Societies

Four Referees walking to collect medals.


match official appointments for Norfolk clubs
Image of a Referee Smiling

The FA Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE)

On a regular basis the RDO contacts a group of referees to see how their season is going, to see if they have any questions or concerns and if there is anything as a Referees’ Department we can do more to support them.

These can often be very unpleasant incidents to deal with, regardless of whether the comment or action was directed at you as the referee, or another individual. On a weekly basis the RDO will email referees who have issued a red card for S6 or submitted an Extraordinary report to check in with the referee to see how they are and if they would like a call.

If you have a conflict of interest with a club please make us aware. This may be a club you used to be involved with or played for or that you have a personal relationship with players on that team.

If there is a specific team/s that you wish to not go and referee, again please make sure we are aware of this. Internally if you report a misconduct or a team send a  low mark report, we mark you as a conflict with that team until we feel it is right for you to go back and referee them. We do this to protect you and not put you into a difficult environment.

After your matches finish on a Saturday please remember that Ryan Starkey works 5pm – 6pm for the full purpose of being there for you as a referee if you have any issues or concerns about the game you have refereed. If you need to speak to someone please give him a call. I can also remind you that Ryan also works on Sunday 8:30am till 12:30pm. You can also contact Harvey Newstead and leave a message or voice message and he will get back to you ASAP.

Every U18 Referee in Norfolk is provided with a Green Armband to raise awareness of young referees in the game and enable them to be identified when they are officiating to help improve the environment that they are refereeing in

During the 2021/22 season we launched Referee Medical ID Cards which every Norfolk County FA Referee will have the option to carry with them in their match day kit and have on them when refereeing. This card will have their emergency contacts and any medical conditions they have in case of an emergency. If you need a card, please contact

Our online forum has yielded some lively debate (and some amusing banter) and on occasions some refereeing opportunities offered as well as support and announcements. If you haven’t done so already, please join the page, by typing “Norfolk FA Referees Group” into the search bar at the top of your own Facebook page, and once loaded, select “Join Group”. This group allows you to ask questions as well as network with your colleagues. 

New trainee referees have the opportunity to request a mentor during their first season as a referee so our workforce can come and support them at their games. We also offer a follow up session 6 weeks after the course to check in with all the match officials.

Every month you receive a referee bulletin, with updates and reminders that you need to be aware of. You also receive a match official contact list so there is no problem with picking out some names that you know and may have worked with before and contacting them to create a group to discuss how games went etc. 

On the occasion where a club submits a low mark report, we will share this with you as a referee out of transparency and for you to give us your view of the match. 
Also, at the end of the season we will share details of how to access your club mark averages for the leagues you officiate in. 

We are now launching a Remote Referee Coaching programme for Norfolk FA Referees. This will involve reviewing match highlights, footage and clips from games and providing coaching feedback to further enhance your on field performance. Should you have highlights, footage, or clips from your games that you would like to receive some coaching feedback on, please send the link to the footage, along with the time(s) of the relevant incident(s), to myself on

If you looking to transition from youth to adult football, please get in touch so we can support you in doing so and where possible by providing mentoring for your first match in adult football.

Norfolk FA is very much committed to ensuring football and refereeing is fully diverse within the county and therefore we will soon be looking for members of the Refereeing community to become Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors to be a catalyst for our clear goal of recruiting, developing & retaining more referees from Historically Underrepresented Groups within the county.

This will involve new referees having access to mentor support via email or phone from our mentor workforce.

                      match recognition

For the 2023/24 Season we will be recognising your commitment to Refereeing by awarding individuals certificates based on the number of matches you are involved in as a Norfolk FA Match Official.

For every game you complete as a referee or assistant referee at any level will count towards your total and the games do not have to be appointed by Norfolk County FA. Only 5 pre-season friendlies can count towards your total. If you are a match observer, match day coach or mentor you can also count these games towards your total. 

The dates will run from July 1st 2023 to May 31st 2024. Once the season is complete, you will have to upload your form on a link provided by the RDO.

The thresholds for certificates are as follows:

Bronze = 30 matches Silver = 50 matches Gold = 70 matches      Platinum = 90 matches

fitness for refereeing

As you progress in refereeing, moving from local leagues into semi-professional football, the demands on referees are greater and with that a higher level of fitness is required. With the demands on referees increasing every season, there is an even greater need to be ‘fit for purpose'.

referee engagement group

The Norfolk County FA Referees Department is committed to supporting, retaining, and developing our referees and ensuring that as a match official you feel valued. As a department we also want to give you regular opportunities to have your voice and opinions listened to, to help us improve and to improve your overall refereeing experiences.

 Therefore, we are very pleased to continue The Norfolk County FA 'Referee Engagement Group' (REG) for a second season. The Group will meet regularly online and will have 6 meetings across the season. The group will give our referee workforce the opportunity to have direct contact with the County FA Referees Department. The meetings will be arranged by the County FA Referee Development Officer and at each meeting a variety of refereeing topics will be discussed.

The members of the ‘REG’ will be asked to liaise with local referees and associations to ensure that all views of our grassroots referees are considered and taken to meetings. The ‘REG’ will help shape our key priorities in refereeing over the upcoming seasons and will be asked to offer views on a number of refereeing topics, and to challenge the County FA Referees Department to ensure we offer the very best support.

Mental Health Guidance For Referees

Norfolk FA takes the Mental Health and well-being of our Referees very seriously. Clearly, as in our everyday lives, we have a role to play in looking after and improving our own mental health. 

If you have a mental health problem and would like to have a confidential conversation, then please first contact Callum Parke, who is the Norfolk Referee Mental Health Champion, at or visit the Norfolk Referee Mental Health Hub which can be found in the August 2021 Bulletin. 

Refereeing brings mental health into sharp focus, as you and your assistants are the ‘third team’ on the field – and sadly often at the receiving end of intense scrutiny and/or abuse. Both can understandably be unnerving.

But one of the elements of your role in football is already a bedrock of mental health: physical health. We know that keeping fit and healthy has a direct effect on mental health, and refereeing is a great way of keeping active as well as staying in football long after you playing days are over.  

Staying in football is in itself a benefit because of the friends you make and the camaraderie you build up. However, several other categories of people play a support role in relation to referees. If they have a concern about a referee’s mental health, the documents below are intended to help them.


Whilst serious cases against Referees are extremely rare, unfortunately they do sometimes happen. Should you be subjected to an act of assault, physical contact or serious threat whilst officiating a match, we have a support policy in place to provide you with the care and assistance that you need. Full details of the policy can be found in the document below.

Despite being a rare occurrence, we do from time to time receive allegations from clubs raising concerns about the conduct of a referee. At Norfolk FA, we have devised a stepped process to support you during the investigation, which can also be found below:


At the 2019 Referee CPD events we asked our Match Officials to write down any advice that they would give to new referees at the start of their officiating adventure. We received an enormous amount of helpful information and the most common themes have been pulled together and published in the document below, which hopefully you will find useful! 

Protocol for dealing with discriminatory abuse

The FA have published a protocol to provide guidance to Match Officials and Clubs as to what actions should be taken when there is an incident of discriminatory abuse by Spectators at a Grassroots game. It is therefore important that all Match Officials familiarise themselves with the protocol so that they know how to act in the unfortunate event of being involved in a match where such abuse occurs.

Please note that whilst the protocol is aimed at incidents of discriminatory abuse by Spectators, as a Match Official you must always report all incidents brought to your attention to the relevant County FA as an extraordinary incident even if you did not hear the abuse yourself.

Referee Shop

As a Norfolk FA match official, you are able to purchase a number of additional items through us as well as Referee kit through RefsHub. 
  • Norfolk FA County Ties (priced at £15.00)
  • Norfolk FA Referee Badge (priced at £7.00)
You can purchase Nike Referees’ kit and many accessories through RefsHub by clicking on the link below.

Referee Appointments

safeguarding for referees

Norfolk FA takes the safety and well-being of our young Referees very seriously. Whilst the vast majority of football is played in safe and friendly environments where everyone can enjoy taking part, there may be occasions where you would like additional help and support. If you witness anything that concerns you, have any safeguarding issue regarding yourself, or if you just wish to speak to us, the document at the bottom of this page provides full details of who to contact as well as other useful information.

Powers & Responsibilities of a Club Referee

We are often asked by Clubs and Club Referees who officiate games what powers and responsibilities do they actually have when taking the whistle. The answer to this is very simple, and is covered within the Standard Code of Rules: 

“Where an official referee isn’t appointed, the agreed individual has the full powers, status and authority of a registered referee”

 To further this, The FA Disciplinary Regulations discuss the responsibilities of The Referee to report any disciplinary offences that may occur during or after a game:

"13 - Referees must submit a report to the relevant Affiliated Association within two days of the Match (excluding Sundays) stating the cautionable, sending-off offences and/or extraordinary incidents"

Therefore, a Club Referee has exactly the same power when officiating to a qualified, registered Referee, and are also obliged to ensure that any disciplinary offences are reported to the County FA. It is extremely important to report discipline, as it will help us to ensure that poor behaviour is dealt with appropriately in line with FA Regulations.

Below you will find an offline discipline report form to help with the reporting of discipline cases, and also a slide deck with some further information on the roles and responsibilities of a Club Referee, as well as some introductory information regarding the Referee Course.

Offline Discipline Report Form

Introduction to Refereeing Slides
The FA Respect


The FA's Respect programme provides a series of tools for leagues, clubs, coaches, players and parents from grassroots to elite football - to help ensure a safe, positive environment in which to play the game.