Group of Referees

Refereeing Support

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 our partners, Discount Football Kits. 
  • Norfolk FA County Ties (priced at £15.00)
  • Norfolk FA Referee Badge (priced at £6.00)
You can purchase Nike Referees’ kit and many accessories through our partners Discount Football Kits 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.